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Squirrel instinct kicks in—or is it hoarding?

Leslie Campbell



April 1, 2020

DAVID AND I WENT OUT FOR SUPPLIES for the first time in three weeks today. We headed to Campbell River and had no difficulty finding what we needed (the only empty shelves we noticed were those for Tylenol and toilet paper) and were impressed at how all the shops have set up new protocols since our shopping three weeks ago. Thrifty Foods has plexiglass shields at the check-outs, 2-metre lines on the floor near the cashier, and arrows on aisle floors. Bosley's pet store allows only one customer at a time to stand in a gated area at the entrance while staff go find the pet food you want. David and I carried our hand sanitizers wherever we went. We adapted quite easily to the new normal.

We made up for all our recent isolation by hitting about seven places—for groceries, pet food, garden supplies, propane. Surely, the resulting truck-load of provisions will see us through the next couple of months, at least if our garden starts producing (all it has now is a lot of kale).

It takes a couple of rowboat trips to bring it all across the bay from our truck. And it’s actually hard to find room for everything in our finite cupboard space. But we happily find ways to squirrel it away.



David rows the groceries, including vegetable plants, back to the homestead


Speaking of squirrels, where are all the little red squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) this spring? I have heard them chittering occasionally, but haven’t actually seen any. Quadra Island doesn’t have the large grey variety that abound in Victoria and elsewhere. Which is good as it means the native red squirrels still thrive here. There have been some years where they seem to disappear but they’ve always bounced back. In the past it seems related to drought the previous year causing the firs and pines not to produce the cones the squirrels rely upon. Perhaps they are just really busy nesting and birthing their young, which typically happens right about now.

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