I Killed a Squirrel
That stupid squirrel ran in front of my car. Went left. Right. Left. Right. Then...bump. Dead. I was returning to the local elementary school where my kids attend. My oldest forgot her flute, so I went back to get it. Thus setting in motion the untimely demise of this unnamed squirrel.
I started to wonder. Why? Why are squirrels so stupid? If I'm to believe The Squirrel Syndrome, it's a metaphor on our lives. A squirrel's fatal flaw is their indecision, and if we follow suit, we end up having life run us over on its way to delivering a flute. While I appreciate the metaphor, that didn't answer my question.
Then I found out that this is an epidemic that spans oceans as the population of red squirrels living in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park were being ravaged by motor vehicle accidents. So much so that a local wildlife group installed rope bridges for the squirrels. And they use them! (Science Daily)
But then I think I found my answer. According to the blog, Living Alongside Wildlife, the natural predator of a squirrel is a bird of prey. Not the Klingon ships, nerds. We're talking about hawks. To avoid hawks, squirrels run in a zig-zag pattern to prevent an easy target for the bird of prey who's looking to swoop down and snatch themselves a squirrel snack.
When we show up in our cars, the squirrel thinks we're a bird of prey and panics. They run in a zig zag direction, thinking they'll shake us. Some times, they escape. Some times, they don't.