Joanne Scantlebury says she is a recluse, however she does have plenty of mates who come to her home day by day — greater than a dozen squirrels.
For a few years, the fibre artist and her husband have been feeding squirrels and birds that dwell round their property in Cumberland on Prince Edward Island’s South Shore.
The squirrels not solely take peanuts proper from her hand, they dive into her pockets too. The birds can even come very shut. Final week, she stated a chickadee even flew into her pocket for the primary time.
“The squirrels will eat out of my pockets very often, so so long as I’ve loads of peanuts in there, plenty of them will deal with themselves,” she stated. “The blue jays will now take peanuts out of my hand as I put them up on the branches, in order that’s gotten attention-grabbing. No one appears to be petrified of me in any respect.
“And the squirrels form of vie for consideration, you understand, ‘Mum! Mum! Me first, please!’ It is simply actually, actually enjoyable.”
‘Simply feels great’
Scantlebury stated her morning ritual for years has been to exit on her second-storey deck, being cautious to not step on the welcoming committee, Noddy and Little Nostril (sure, she has named each).
Her pockets are brimming with peanuts within the shell for the squirrels, and she or he feeds and waters the birds too —chickadees, blue jays, crows, mourning doves, and final winter, a black and white duck. Feeding occurs mornings and evenings.
Scantlebury stated the squirrels are mild, and there have been no accidents on both aspect throughout their interactions.
I actually love these little guys. We watch all of them day.— Joanne Scantlebury
“It has been a each day factor for a very long time, and we form of commune,” she stated. “It simply feels great.”
When she hangs her laundry outdoors to dry or walks to the seashore, she stated she and her husband at all times carry peanuts for the squirrels, who will come operating once they see them.
“They have me skilled!” she stated with fun.
The previous couple of months, Scantlebury started videotaping her squirrel and chicken interactions to share with members of the family.
“I put the movies on first as a result of my grandchildren, my household prefer to see them.… Since most of them are far-off, I pop them on Instagram and Fb,” she stated. “The subsequent factor I knew, I had those that have been actually having fun with them,” from throughout.
Viewers are amused by the quick actions and humorous antics of the animals.
“Lots of occasions I’ll have 4 or 5 of them racing over me, chasing one another. They’re on my head, they’re on my shoulder,” Scantlebury stated. “I do not wish to step on one, so there are awkward moments with the digital camera.”
‘I wanted them’
Scantlebury has at all times liked wildlife, she stated, however she did not get critical about feeding the squirrels till a few decade in the past when her mom obtained very sick.
“I simply discovered that I wanted the squirrels most likely greater than they wanted me,” she stated. “I had one squirrel specifically that will sit with me — it will sit with me on my hammock, or on the chair wherever I used to be, and did not essentially desire a peanut. It could come when it was known as — plenty of them will, you understand, come by title, and Maggie did that. That is after I began to essentially get into it.
Do not allow them to trick you into getting snuggles or handouts!— Andrea Wishart
“I would at all times been feeding them however I actually felt extra like I used to be communing with them at that time.”
The connection with the squirrels gave her consolation, function and firm — to not point out leisure.
“I am a little bit of a recluse, and I actually love these little guys. We watch all of them day,” she stated. “I’ve obtained home windows all alongside the entrance of the home, and each time we exit the door we’re met by one or two. They’re very entertaining, so the price of the meals is just not a difficulty as a result of that is our leisure … these little characters are actually great.”
Feeding wildlife not really helpful
Andrea Wishart is a PhD researcher on the College of Saskatchewan specializing in crimson squirrels, and stated she understands the temptation to get near them.
“Squirrels, particularly North American crimson squirrels, are extremely enjoyable to observe, and they’re very daring and prepared to work together with folks,” Wishart instructed CBC Information by way of e mail. “Do not allow them to trick you into getting snuggles or handouts! Squirrels are very clever and really resourceful, so they’ll just do tremendous on their very own.”
She recommends folks don’t feed wildlife for a number of causes. It will probably situation animals to turn out to be reliant on folks, which might result in human-wildlife battle. Many meals folks feed to wildlife should not nutritionally applicable — for instance, feeding geese bread fills them up but gives nearly no usable vitamins, she stated. And conditioning wild animals to get used to people can put them in hurt’s method.
“Wild animals can carry all types of illnesses that may switch to people (known as “zoonoses”, COVID is definitely one, and rabies is one other),” Wishart stated. “Rabies in squirrels could be very uncommon, however any mammal can carry it and you do not wish to obtain a chew from an contaminated animal.”
Artist not frightened
However Scantlebury says she is not afraid of micro organism or illness they could carry.
And though squirrels have a popularity for destroying property, they have not wrecked something at her place and have not gained entry to the home.
“I have been doing this for a very long time and by no means seen nothing damaging personally — and I have been in touch with tons of and tons of of squirrels, and birds.
“I hope everyone can love a squirrel at the moment.”