A Mushroom Moment

It takes a squirrel to make me realize, most keenly, how clumsy and inadequate I am as a photographer. That is why you will see no photographs of Gerald here. Or George. They defy me. They exist, in my photo library, as blurs and snippets of taunting shadows. Fluffy tails whisking out of sight.

I can only show you where Gerald just was.

He was just here, eating this mushroom. If you look closely, you can see his teeth marks. That is all you get of Gerald.

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But I can tell you that this episode sent me off on a frenzy of googling. For, you see, Gerald was very much drunk. Or at least that is how it seemed. He took a few bites of this mushroom (poisonous) and went cavorting off like a crazed jackrabbit.

Google knew exactly what I was frantically trying to find, and finished my sentence for me.  ‘Can a squirrel eat…mushrooms?’…

It would seem I am not the only one who has wanted to save a squirrel from poisoning. And it turns out that, not only can squirrels eat poisonous mushrooms, they actually harvest them, and dry them for future consumption.

(I picture little clotheslines strung between branches, with thin slices of delicate Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca flapping in the breeze. Squirrel not in the picture, because of course, it has just scampered tantalizingly off-stage.)

I was actually quite concerned for his safety, as I watched ‘Gerald’ go careening up hills, rocks and trees, then come tumbling down again in a fluffy tangle of red tail and snowy white chest, and paws akimbo.

So…it turns out that squirrels, in addition to being elusive to capture adequately in photography, are also immune to mushroom toxins. They can get drunk on fermented apples, high on mushrooms, and happily survive both.

If they don’t break their necks.


This is also a good time to mention, no, you’re not hallucinating, I did change my blog around a bit. It is still a work in progress, so please let me know if there is anything you don’t like about it. Some people do spring cleaning in the season appropriate to the name…I get inspired to do my cleaning and rearranging in the fall. Thanks, as always, for visiting!