Friday, October 21, 2011

The Squirrels of Vulcan

Certain animals have always caught my eye.  And they are not always the big, flashy ones either.  For instance, I am fascinated by squirrels with tufted ears.  What sort of evolutionary advantage do pointy ears really give you?  There must be something, as the same pattern turns up in various places.  Have a look:
This is Aberts squirrel of the Western United States.

Here is a link to some funky Russian squirrels with similar ears:  Nice Ears, Comrade Squirrel .

And here is our pal the European Red squirrel, whose sad plight we have discussed in the context of Britain.  In France he is, thus far, doing fine.

Eurasian Red Squirrel

I was rather hoping to spot one during my recent trip to southern France.  Alas, none to be seen.  French parks seem to be teeming with aggressive avians, pigeons and ducks, maybe they drive the little guys away.  But I did see some nifty Squirrel related architechture in Lyon:

Seems to have more rabbit like legs, but definite ear tufts. 
And here is some nice grill work above an old doorway:

Smaller ear tufts, but notice that this fellow is about to apply the Vulcan Mind Meld to the cherub.  Probably a fairly effective way to get a few bread crusts tossed your way.

Like so many things in Europe these days there are changes going on.  Thus far France has avoided the invasion of American Grey squirrels that has been so hard on red squirrel populations in Britain.  But per this Barbarians on the March there are concerns that established populatons of greys in Italy will break through in the near future.  Ironically this invasion, from Italy out to the provinces,  is going in the opposite direction to the invaders of old.

Lets hope that in some secluded sylvan glade our Vulcan squirrel friends are secretly building an escape pod.

No comments: