Squirrel Siesta

On the south side of our Littleton farmhouse is a large catalpa tree, its massive branches extending in all directions.  Every day, just after noon (snowy weather excluded), a fox squirrel stretches out on one of those limbs; if it is warm, he chooses a shady spot and, if it is cool, he lounges in the sun.

While I enjoy a close-up view of this squirrel siesta, I know that such behavior is repeated all across our farm and, no doubt, all across the global range of tree squirrels.  Between feeding throughout the morning and their late day foraging activity, the squirrels, like many other animals, need time to rest and digest their food.  Though this afternoon nap represents instinctual behavior, I am convinced that it is  a pleasurable experience for an animal that spends most of its day scouring lawns, climbing trees, chasing cohorts and escaping predators.

Indeed, any experienced naturalist knows that wildlife viewing is most productive during the morning and late day hours.  By early afternoon, most species have retired to burrows, sheltered roosts or other shaded retreats to rest and to escape the mid-day sun.  We humans might be more productive ourselves if we followed the example of our wild neighbors and took advantage of an afternoon siesta.