Earlier, I reported Hoover, the chipmunk, was well trained in taking peanuts from park visitors then transporting them back to his burrow. It’s now well beyond a simple transaction between humans and a rodent.
He’s learned to jump into laps and climb pant legs to accept peanuts in the shell. He’s picky. Already shelled peanuts will only be accepted if no peanuts in the shell are offered. Handing this creature his preferred food stuffs can become an expensive endeavor since he dashes to his burrow and returns within 30 second to get his cheeks filled again. I think he’d do this from dawn to dusk if given the chance.
Since several park visitors have learned how entertaining this fellow can be, I can’t imagine how he’s packing his bounty into this burrow. Chipmunk burrows can be 30 feet long with lots of side chambers for food storage. His mansion must be the Graceland of burrows, but I hope he’s decorated it better than Elvis did.
Normally, chipmunks don’t start seriously amassing their winter stores until autumn when you hear them rattling on to announce to the neighbors to stay off their territories. Hoover will surely be lounging on his deck as a wealthy resident of the park by then.
Of course encouraging this behavior violates every rule in wildlife stewardship. A chipmunk can inflict a nasty bite if cornered or provoked. I worry about him getting hurt or killed by being too friendly, too. But I gotta say, as a photographer, it’s great to have a model who works for peanuts at about $2 a pound and doesn’t ask for cab fare home.
Hold peanuts in one hand and your camera in the other. You’ll get photos like these close ups as long as you don’t run out of peanuts. Once that happens, Hoover will bid you farewell.
Hoover (above), named after the vacuum cleaner, has bragged to his neighbors about his ability to charm/con humans out of peanuts. They’ve also seen him in action and are beginning to acquire his skills.
Eureka, above, and another nearby chipmunk named Dyson, are slowly learning his techniques. Hoover isn’t pleased.
If one of his two neighbors horns in on what he considers his territory, he chases them away. Those critters sneak back when Hoover isn’t watching to get a share of the bounty but it’s obvious Hoover is the dominant chipmunk. You’ll find these three and more near the southern dock behind LaMarsa Restaurant and Hungry Howie’s.
I admit there are too many portraits of these critters in this post. Come to the pond and try to resist taking too many shots of these fellows.