Amourobius ferox

Amourobius ferox
By Peter Byles

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Grey Squirrel doing a width at Bosherston Ponds

No pics I'm afraid, but I did witness an unusual occurrence at Bosherston Ponds this morning. While walking the dog, I noticed the head of something sticking up out of the weed, some 25m out into the pond near eight-arch bridge. At first glance it looked a bit Terrapin-like, but through binoculars it was clearly a Grey Squirrel (possibly a young animal) struggling its way towards the bank through the Potamogeton crispus.

Interestingly, it appeared to have swam from the far bank of the pond - as the only open channel through the weed appeared to be directly behind it. The squirrel was clearly struggling to works its way through the weed and, as far as I could tell, was breaking the weed under the water with its front feet (hands - to all intents and purposes) to create an open channel to swim into. I watched this for 5-10 minutes, during which time the squirrel moved no more than 2m (more of a doggy-paddle than crawl or butterfly), with still some 25m to go before reaching the safety of the shore.

At this point, I decided to carry on with my walk, and leave the distressed squirrel to its ordeal. However, as befitting a bank holiday weekend, this story did have a happy ending as, when I returned some 90 minutes later, the channel through the weed was completely open, and the squirrel had clearly made it to shore.

I can only speculate as to why the squirrel was in the lake in the first place, but I guess that it was either a young animal that had misjudged a leap through the trees, or that it had been forced into the water to avoid predation. Either way, it was obviously well-adapted to surviving the ordeal.

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