Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Cave Squirrel

In Brazil, in the rainforest, deep caves form where the water run-off seeps into the geology. Caves form there, and the lush jungle spreads its wealth of life down into the earth, as well.

The Brazilian Cave Squirrel likely evolved out of the squirrel's habit of burying food for winter. In the tropical rainforest, there is no winter. Still, the tendency remains. The squirrel furiously digs and digs, hunting for grubs and nuts and fruits that have fallen to the thick layer of leaves. Eventually this squirrel likely discovered the entrances to a large cave complex, and slipped inside, where no hawks or ocelots hunt for meat.

These squirrels have evolved for their caves. Their fingers are very sensitive to touch, and their eyes are gigantic and black to soak up all remnants of light. Many are born blind, but it doesn't seem to bother them. The cave squirrels tails are even poofier, to give them something to feel with. The cave squirrels dig deep into the ground after insects and cave fish and any nuts or fruits that slip through the water into the deep darkness.

They swim fluidly, unlike most squirrels. The cave squirrel swim like otters, and have the thicker fur similar to an otter.

Natives prized them for their luscious pelts.

Horatio the Mute's Brazilian contact from the circus days, El Lemure, managed to save one from the illegal endangered animal markets in the seedy underbelly of Rio de Janeiro.

The light-sensitive squirrel hides in the darkness of the closet, hissing furiously at anyone that gets too close. If you come over, watch out for dark corners. If you brush up against something furry in a gloom, it just might spin ad bite you.

The post-traumatic stress disorder from being wrenched from the caves, tossed into the unwholesome black market, and then shipped around the world, has permanently damaged this little cave squirrel's little brain.

Biter only lets Horatio the Mute near him, to feed him tiny crickets and Brazilian nuts. They make quite a duo, in my closet, sleeping curled up together on a pile of old towels.

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