Wednesday, December 30, 2020

An unusual squirrel dray

 

An Eastern Gray Squirrel, Sciurus carolinensis, has picked an odd place to site its dray (squirrel-speak for nest). The two stacked metal tables apparently met the squirrel's needs for an adequate supporting superstructure, and he built out of the box, so to speak. These animals normally place their drays high in trees, as many of this one's compadres have done in nearby trees.

My mother lives in Dublin Retirement Village, on the third floor. Her apartment features a small balcony, and this is where the squirrel has chosen to make its strange nest.

My brother, his wife, myself and other family members are frequent visitors to mom's place, and I happened to be there the first day the squirrel launched construction activities. By the end of the next day, he had largely completed construction. Squirrels begin with a sturdy latticework of small branches, which he harvested from nearby trees. Once these are in place to his satisfaction - there are hundreds of branches - he commences insulating the place with dead leaves. Many, many leaves are added, thoroughly chinking the gaps.

Sitting on the deck below the table is a small basket, and this may have been the perk that stimulated the squirrel to choose this site. His "bed" appears to be in the basket, which would provide yet another layer of easily insulated security. Ensconced within a well-built dray, the squirrel's body heat can keep the interior 20-30 degrees above the outside temperature. Sometimes two animals will share a dray, and that probably further increases the heat.

Gray Squirrels will sometimes make more than one dray, and this one may also have a more typical arboreal abode nearby. But, he seems to use the balcony nest as his primary residence.

Here is a brief video of the squirrel adding construction material. It's been educational to get a front row to the process; an activity that is normally difficult due to the lofty locations that they normally choose.


6 comments:

Terry Fout said...

I love seeing this...such a cute squirrel and I think he is very smart to put a dray on the balcony...thanks for sharing

Lisa Rainsong said...

This video is absolutely delightful!

Jim McCormac said...

Thanks for your comments! This squirrel is advancing the design of dray evolution! 😀

Woody Meristem said...

Looks like the squirrel put the entrance on the far side -- for privacy no doubt. That is indeed an interesting location for the squirrel's home construction project; it also looks much larger than normal -- a squirrel McMansion.

Bill McDonald said...

I think the squirrels are running out of space to use their natural habitat

Birds of Indian Subcontinent said...

nice blog..

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