Something you don’t see everyday in New Jersey. When wildlife approaches you without you doing anything to entice them.
This is something that happened to me while working on my laptop at Monmouth County’s Thompson Park in Lincroft, NJ. I was sitting there minding my own business when suddenly this little squirrel walked up to me.
This happened towards the end of the summer months in New Jersey. I happened to be off work that day and was taking my kids to one of their summer camps for the day (the Monmouth County Parks System has amazing programs all year round). year for children and adolescents).
As I was looking to try out my new remote access point, I decided to bring my laptop to see if I could connect to anything from the park. I knew the access point worked since I used it at home during power outages, I just haven’t tried it anywhere other than my home.
So after dropping the kids off I went further into the park to an area with picnic benches. This area was between one of their walking paths and a playground and wasn’t too far from the parking lot. A perfect place to try.
As I was rolling around on my laptop trying to see everything if it would work with the hotspot, I noticed a squirrel in one of the trees not too far from me. After a while, I noticed him looking in my direction. No big deal, I guess he was just doing his thing.
But then he came out of the tree and started heading towards me. Slowly, the squirrel continued to approach. Just when I started to think he wanted to come over to me, he stopped to pick something up off the floor to eat.
Right now, I think he just saw something he wanted that was near me. Everything is fine for now. When he was done eating, however, the squirrel started looking my way again. Only this time it came for me.
This little guy came so close I thought he was going to jump on the bench with me. I’m not kidding, this squirrel wasn’t scared. But it wasn’t aggressive or anything, it was just very unusual to me for a squirrel to come so close.
I decided to go upstairs and move to the next table, just to see what that would do. Sure enough, he jumped on the picnic table where I was. And after a little while, he started looking my way and started approaching me again.
But this time something distracted him in the tree and he took a sharp turn. And after a while I started to understand why it was probably so brave.
As I mentioned earlier, I was right next to a playground. Based on the location, as well as the way the squirrel was looking at me, it occurred to me that the kids were probably feeding it and that’s why it was so comfortable to approach me.
It was completely logical. This would also explain why instead of showing fear or acting aggressive when approaching, he got on his hind legs and gave an almost dog-like look when begging for the food. The squirrel was probably examining me to see if I could give him something.
This all happened during the morning hours while I was there. Little did I know that when my wife picked up our children in the afternoon, she would go to the same place to let my sons play in the playground. And guess who visited them?
Yes, the squirrel went to her. In fact, he also approached my sons when they approached. It’s crazy how brave this little guy was. But it shows you how much we can change the behavior of wildlife when we feed them.
This wild squirrel was harmless to us, but what if it got so brave that it became aggressive? Also, what if he becomes aggressive towards children? That’s why it’s best to let the wildlife be. As cute as a wild animal may act, you never know when it will lose its fear of us and something unfortunate will happen as a result.
So far, though, this little guy doesn’t seem to be anywhere near that point. But we have to resist feeding him so he doesn’t feel like it’s okay to be aggressive if he doesn’t get what he wants. Yes, squirrels are naturally curious and may only be watching to see what you’re up to. Nevertheless, we don’t want to give it the wrong idea.