Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Creatures in the Night

So, I got bit by a flying squirrel last night. It was about 11:00 pm and my beloved was going outside to get a last log to put on the fire before bed. Then I heard him whisper "April, what is that?" I ran to the door to see a tiny animal looking at us through the glass. It had huge eyes, the tiniest feet and a large busy tail. We stared at it, frozen. It stared at us. We had no idea what it was. So I decided I had to catch it.

I got a towel and snuck out the back door. When I rounded the corner to the front porch, it began to scamper frantically about. It lept off the porch, with me in quick pursuit. It ran up inside the siding, and then fell out. At this point, my husband was out cheering me on and attempting to corner it. Finally, I was able to capture back on the porch. We could not believe it. I had it in my hands, whatever it was. After taking it into the house and putting it in a pot, we decided on a large clear tote for its new home. Yes, it was so adorable that the man of the house began to beg to keep it! I heard "No, honey, it is a wild animal and it belongs outside where it can be free." coming out of my mouth.

We looked it up on line and discovered that it was a Southern Flying Squirrel. They are not rare; in fact if you were outside looking in the trees for flying squirrels at night, you could probably find one. It was eating lichen on our logs which it appears, is a meal of choice. After waking the girls up to show them our latest midnight capture, we decided that we needed to hold it. We took the tote outside and carefully put our hands inside. It was so silky, and crawled up on E.'s hand. So I decided to actually grab it. This is the point where you begin to wonder about me, unless you know my history of catching wild animals that began when I was a little child.

I first remember capturing a "wild" parakeet. Then came various injured birds, a baby squirrel without hair that fell from its nest (it died after my mom agreed to take it to the vet!), snakes, several rabbits (one snatched right out from under the noses of a few dogs trying to kill it), and lots of frogs and turtles. I always feel a twinge of excitement when catching wild animals, but now I have even more fun showing them off to my girls. E. likes to do this too. One night he woke the girls to show them a tiny toad. They all liked it except for the youngest who said "Daddy, Mama doesn't allow us to have things like that in the house!". This morning, my middle girl asked why I had a band aid on my finger and I told her the flying squirrel had bitten me. She replied that she thought that had been a dream which made me wonder if waking the girls in the middle of the night to show them wild animals in the house is that great of an idea.

So, the squirrel- the FLYING squirrel, bit me and had to be let go. E. watched it for a while, took some pictures and actually got to see it glide while I looked up rabies on line. Too bad that by the time you show symptoms, there is nothing to do but chain you to a tree. The good news is squirrels don't get rabies (at least it is very RARE, which is hardly comforting). Now, I can add a new creature to my list, and wonder what else we will find in the dark.


Jonathan said...

That is a great story! Please, send me the pictures!

Luke said...

not a bad story. glad to hear you are still writing. don't slow up. love you sis.

Grace Riddle said...

So everyone thinks this a "great" story. I on the other hand am about to cry because it is so halirious! THough i am not surprised that you would see an unidentified anything, and try to catch it, most would find this completely unnormal. And that is why you are not only my sister, but my best friend. I expect to be completely entertained next week when i stay with you in the ever so perilous country.

Kim said...

this cracked me up!!! i have a baby flying squirrel that we rescued from the street (?) under the oak tree in front of our house. he was hairless, less than a week old and i didnt think he would make it. that was 082906. as of today, he is too funny, too cute and wild as the wind!!! he thinks i am mom and i am sure he wonders when he is going to be as big as us! he handles easily, (as easily as squirrels go) is the best comedian i have ever known, and its a blast to care for him. i can see my husband following me around "cheering me on" as yours did! thank you for the chuckle! kim, 42 Mississippi