The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

By Karl Terry

No luck chatting with local wildlife


November 18, 2018

I talk to the animals. That’s right, in case you don’t read my column regularly you might not know that.

Of course if you see me on the Eastern New Mexico University campus hollering up into the trees, I haven’t flipped my lid, I’m just talking to the squirrels. I do it on my way to and from my aqua fitness class.

Although I speak fluent squirrel, I believe these carpetbagging squirrels quite possibly speak a different squirrel dialect than I learned during my time in Colorado. They seem to largely ignore my sexy squirrel pillowtalk. It made me a bit angry so I’ve taken to yelling at them in English in the “old man, get off my lawn” dialect.

This isn’t working either and I’m getting alarmed looks and a really wide berth from students.

I ask them what they’re doing on my lawn and what they’re chattering about, the squirrels not the students, and I never get an answer. They aren’t afraid of me, well maybe the students are, but the squirrels don’t seem to mind that I’m there or that I’m hollering at them.

I think I’ve got to get better at speaking their native language, again I’m not talking about the students, I’m not into a hopeless quest. I think I need to attract one or more into my yard on a regular basis and practice a little squirrel immersion language learning. I think it would also make me feel more comfortable if the only human questioning my behavior is my wife. It might also keep me out of the rubber police wagon.

I’ve been putting out peanuts but the blue jays are the only ones picking up the goobers. I can communicate with the jays through a series of screams and squawks where I tell them if they touch my peanuts I’ll twist their little beaks. But no squirrels have appeared in my back yard while I’ve been watching. Neighbors report they’ve seen them in my yard but I’ve only encountered one for a brief period on my driveway where, frankly, it startled me with that bushy tail.

I think if we could just have a calm conversation together I could convince them I mean them no harm. We could even work out a feeding schedule if they like.

Of course I’ll have to also convince them not to worry about my two dogs. In good conscience, I don’t think I could tell the squirrels the dogs mean them no harm. I’m pretty sure they both want to grab that bushy tail and shake hard. I could instead try and convince them that the big dog is too fat and slow and not nearly smart enough to catch a squirrel. The little yappy dog on the other hand wouldn’t really be much of a match for a rank, wild squirrel.

If I can’t get a conversation with a squirrel on my own turf I’ll just have to resort to my backup plan — climb a tree and act like a nut.

Karl Terry writes for Clovis Media Inc. Contact him at:


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