Nature Notes

Vol. VIII November, 1930 No. 12

A 'Flicker Weight' Bout

Our ordinary grey squirrel, (Scurius douglasii) does not appear particularly warlike. In fact, one thinks of him as distinctly a pacifist. Yet this observer only the other day was privileged to hold a ringside seat at a flicker weight bout between two ferocious Douglassii that was replete with action - but what action.

The two champions advanced by flickers and chirps until they faced each other on a level plot of grass. Gradually they advanced by short quick jerks until only a foot of space seperated them. Then assaulted each other with horrific chuckles and chirps all the while glaring red-eyed at each other. They remained thus swearing and muttering under their breath, tails rigidly extended, feet braced ready to leap and rend the foe. A moment of this ominous chirping and one of the combatants sprang - to the, rear - and whisked away behind a tree. His opponent followed furiously - at a safe distance.

Then the fugitive turned and the first scene was repeated with much mouthing of vicious oaths. Soon the other battler turned and fled, only to wheel and face his enemy. So they "fought" for many minutes. The first rule of the game is apparently never to approach close enough to the enemy so that you breath may offend him.

- - - - - - - - - -

Speaking of breath, one famous Douglasii of this writer's acquaintance was never in danger of halitosis. His favorite fruit was chewing gum. Variously known as Oscar and Boscoe, this little hermit lived an isolated life on the University of Washington campus where he attracted more attention than most professors. He would eat almost anything from the hands of the fair coeds, but Wrigley's s spearmint was his first choice.

The squirrels in the park, as well as the chipmunks, soon learn to eat anything containing starch when they live neighbors to man. It is ever the influence of man to make scavengers of the forest folk.

(L. G. Richards)

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