Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Undead Squirrel: Fort Lauderdale 2007

The royal palm tree in my backyard was not that tall when we first moved into the house on SW 18th Street in Fort Lauderdale. That was in 1997. Now, it was a big tree, but when the fronds died I could reach them and pull them down by hand. Even then there was a squirrel who lived up in the green fronds--after a while he'd/she'd have to rebuild the nest higher up. Now, a royal palm's trunk is not like the trunk of a coconut or cabbage or fan palm. It's like a smooth concrete pole, in many ways, and even a squirrel can't scurry up it, so the animal has to jump to low hanging fronds and get up that way.
Jump to ten years later: the squirrel or a different squirrel is still nesting in the royal palm. But the palm is quite tall now and the squirrel has to climb up the nearby travelers palm then make a leap onto the low fronds of the royal to get to his/her nest. It's a precarious operation but must have been a safe place to live. Well, one day I go out in the yard and there's this squirrel on the ground beneath the royal palm. It's splayed out in grass/sandydirt not moving. I think it's dead. I think it fell from the palm. I left it there and went about my business for a while and then, maybe an hour later, it's gone. It's back jumping up to its nest.
Ah. The squirrel fell and was out cold.
Now it's later--maybe a month or two--and again I go out and again there's the squirrel out cold on the grass/sandydirt. This time I approach it. I stand over it and inspect it. I nudge it with my foot. It doesn't move. It's dead, I think, but I leave it be for a while.
When I come back, the squirrel is still there. I nudge it again.
This was before we got our dog and we had raccoons and opossums and such come into the yard at night. So, I get my shovel, dig a hole by the back fence. I use the shovel to scoop up the dead squirrel and carry him/her and deposit her/him in the hole. I cover the squirrel up.
So much for that.
That evening I'm outside again. I go check on the royal-palm-squirrel's hasty grave. But, she/he is not there.
Instead there's the hole.
The squirrel had dug itself out and up.
Zombie Squirrel!
Well, guess it wasn't dead.
It still lives up in that tree to this day but I don't know how the hell it gets up there.

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