A Typical Morning on the Front Porch
by Ken Potter
Featuring: The Dynamic Duo, The Gray Rat, Big Red & Flicker Tail
This is the Dynamic Duo; two black squirrels (Actually Eastern Grey Squirrels with black pelts) that come to chomp on peanuts and sunflower seeds every so often. They just don't seem to be able to share what's on the porch so the dominant male takes the porch while the female works the lower steps and sidewalk. Their time is limited before they'll get run off by a forceful adversary but for now they are the top dogs.
Here is the Dynamic Duo again. Notice how fearful they are of the Gray Rat -- the cat to the left of the steps! The Gray Rat is the most cunning predator in the neighborhood ... or at least he thinks so. Many mornings he comes to the house a few minuets after I throw out seeds and peanuts for the birds and squirrels. He snuggles up close to the left edge of the porch, very low to the ground with his ears perked up at attention as he slowly and cunningly creeps forward like a panther in the African jungle. When he's gotten close to the forward edge of the porch and has targeted his quarry, he wiggles his rear-end back and forth while his entire body begins to shake uncontrollably; seconds later he lunges out to capture his prey! I'm sure he is a true hunter of awesome stealth -- though I have yet to see him actually catch anything. The Gray Rat's current pose shown here is one of contemplation, frustration and bewilderment (as one of his ears twitches back and forth) after a few partial lunges effected no response from our Duo!
The Gray Rat sits up at attention to eye the female squirrel a few feet away, (out of the frame of this picture), pondering what he should do about this situation! Notice how scared the male squirrel appears as he goes on eating his peanuts!
It's time to make another move! Slowly, the Gray Rat inches in the direction of the female squirrel as the male squirrel looks on.
Oh no! Our cunning predator has finally made his move -- a surprise move -- jumping up on the porch between our Dynamic Duo to show them just who he is. He's the Gray Rat -- a force to be reckoned with! They should have ran away in fear a long time ago! But our Duo stands up to our cunning predator by turning and lunging at him and running him off the porch. The Gray Rat regains his composure and lunges seven more times as he tries again and again to strike fear into the hearts of these timid creatures by coming in from different directions with different approaches but they they don't give an inch and keep running him off and then going back to their peanuts. Finally, in a last ditch effort of confrontational rage and determination, to save face, the Gray Rat lunges at the female on the lower step to which the male responds with a running leap, flying off the porch onto the Gray Rat's back and they proceed to run him off again for the final time of the day.
"Yep, pretty scary cat, I think I'll have another peanut!"
The Gray Rat returns totally disrespected and humbled as he sits behind a bush with his tail twitching back and forth in the snow as he watches our Dynamic Duo. Eventually he gives up his plans of world domination and wanders off to look for other squirrels to terrorize. Take a look at the look at his face. He's not real happy about what went on here this morning; there's got to be greener pastures! Maybe some birds -- after all they scare more easy!
This is Big Red! He's the next visitor to come and enjoy a few peanuts; within seconds he runs off our Dynamic Duo. For now he represents the most forceful adversary that our Duo has had to face this morning. Look how much tougher he looks than the Gray Rat! Who'd want to get into a boxing match with this guy? BUT his time is very limited so he better eat as many peanuts as he can as quickly as he can as it won't be long before an even more dreaded adversary arrives.
Oh Oh -- here comes Flicker! It's time to head out!
This is Flicker Tail -- a Grey Squirrel from the hood with a white belly and broken tail! He's often the first one here, standing on his hind feet waiting at the door for me to feed him with a look on his face that seems to suggest that he's already been there waiting for an hour. He's the smallest of the bunch but when he gets here it's time for any other squirrels in the area to head on out!
"Mmmmmm! Good peanuts and they're all mine!"