You have to look hard to see the chipmunk greeters

Yesterday in my post I promised to tell you about the Vedauwoo wildlife. The word wildlife may be a bit of a misnomer, because the critters we spent the day with were anything but wild. I’m talking chipmunks and ground squirrels.

I’ve only recently learned the difference. When I was a kid, they all were chipmunks to me.

So here’s how it went down.

The delinquency I mean.

The Vedauwoo chipmunks have learned to live with humans. They’ve learned that people mean food. They’ve become little beggars.

Cute. Adorable even, but beggars nonetheless.

We carried our picnic paraphernalia to the table, set up the chairs and settled in to enjoy ourselves. We’d brought chicken, potato salad, watermelon and birthday cupcakes. Oh, and Rick had one sourdough roll. He doesn’t go anywhere without bread, but that’s a story for another time.

First one little chipmunk was brave enough to scout us. I swear he must have gone back to the others with this message: “Hey we’ve got some live ones here. Heads up and look cute.”

Once the message got out, we were graced with the constant company of chippies and ground squirrels. It’s one of the things I love about Vedauwoo. I’ve fed these little guys for as long as I can remember. It’s part of the experience.

What did we feed them? We shared our picnic fare of course. None of it was very good for chipmunks. In truth, it wasn’t all that good for us either. But we sure enjoyed it.

All of us. See for yourself.

“This watermelon is prettty darned tasty. Very refreshing on a hot day. And how nice of you to cut it into chipmunk-sized bites.”

“Yes, thank you. I’ll have a piece of bread. How nice of you to share.”

The three of us picnickers soon got into the act of feeding the chipmunks from our hands. The feel of their tiny paws was really sweet. They were so gentle. I did recently ask for more wildness in my life, and hand feeding chipmunks kind of fits the bill.

“Hmm, these carrot cupcakes are very tasty indeed. I don’t mind standing on this big guy’s leg if it means I can eat cake.”

“So this is where they store these delicious morsels. Now if I can only figure out how to open this darned plastic box.”

As you can see from the pictures, we encouraged some bad behavior in chipmunks and ground squirrels. I tried to stick to watermelon, but once they got the taste of the cupcake, they had no more interest in anything healthy. We did eat the cream cheese frosting ourselves, thinking it would be too much sugar for the little guys. It was a humanitarian act. We’re thoughtful that way. Eating the creamy sugary frosting ourselves. Call it a birthday sacrifice.

And to my friend, the wildlife veterinarian, all I can say is this: “Sorry. Slap the cuffs on me now.”

Note to self: Research appropriate food for chipmunks and ground squirrels before next year.