Dear Joan — At a recent show, Stephen Colbert was talking to Alan Alda about acting, and he to understand how people can feel embarrassed and uncomfortable. At the same time I was taking this stupid walk in public, saying it was a squirrel walk and a poop.
Arda seemed to suspect that the squirrel would do so. We started talking and realized that we had never seen a squirrel poop. Is it really the way they do it? If so, we need to spend more time watching squirrels in the garden.
A. and S., Berkeley
Dear A. and S .: I love Stephen Colbert’s sense of humor and his intellect, but when it comes to squirrels and poop, he relies on some bad information.
His ridiculous walk was more imaginative than spoofing. Squirrels are far more secretive when it comes to bathroom behavior.
They are so modest that a myth was born that claimed not to poop. There are few reports of a squirrel exploding, so it’s pretty clear that the myth doesn’t hold the water.
Squirrels have little protection when it comes to protecting themselves from many predators who prefer to eat them. Their teeth and claws can be sharpened, but they are not comparable to the sharp claws of a hawk, the strong jaws of a coyote, and the sharp claws of a cat’s razor.
The first instinct of a squirrel is to run. The second is to avoid possible conflicts. To that end, they usually build toilets away from their nests, preventing other animals from using the scent to track them home.
The mother squirrel actually carries the baby’s poop and pee away from the nest and protects it.
I admire Colbert’s method of acting and certainly appreciate his funny walk, but he should probably call it something else.
Dear Joan: I just read about a man and his cat in your column. Coyotes are spending the horrifying time here jumping over the fence and into the backyard, digging under the fence to invade small dogs and cats when they are in their yard, killing and eating them.
This has happened in the last 10 days and you can see coyotes walking in their local neighborhood. Warn the people in your column not to have their pets alone in their backyard — some of these people are elderly and do not know this is happening.
Animal Control doesn’t care and refuses to do anything unless it attacks a person, as it happened in Moraga and Lafayette.
Sue Smith, Danville, CA
Dear Sue: Thank you for the warning, Sue. As fires and droughts continue to plague California, animals are approaching development where they are finding food and water. So you need to be more vigilant about pets.
Animal management isn’t a concern, but their job is to deal with livestock. State or federal fish and wildlife are interested in wildlife.
The coyote is trying to survive and eats what he finds. It’s our job to make sure it’s not our pet.
The mystery of a squirrel emerges on late-night television.
Is Stephen Colbert right about getting tired of squirrels walking?
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