A little later, O and I were watching "Survivor." During a commercial break, we both heard some loud rustling and scratching coming from the dining room. We looked up and saw this:
(Sorry for the crappy photo -- O was pretty excited and jumping around. That's my husband's hand and bucket. He was urging our friend to jump in the bucket, not on the bucket. LOL!!!)
A flying squirrel! O and I both looked at each other and had the same reaction.
Yeah, we're nuts. Almost everyone who has heard this story says they would have run screaming from the house. O and I have such a deep love of animals and wildlife that I often wonder what our reaction would be if we discovered a cheetah sleeping on our couch. ("It's our lucky day!")
My second thought was how do we get him out of here without the cats seeing him? Weirdly enough, both cats were sleeping elsewhere and never came out to
feed investigate. It took my husband about 20 minutes to get the squirrel off the curtain. First our visitor showed off a bit by flying from the drapes to the top of my ironing board back to the drapes and then flew to our hutch. Very impressive flying skills! Then he dropped the floor, ran through the kitchen, and out the back door, which I was holding open for him.
The next question was "How did he get in the house?" Our house is older and has lots of holes, nooks, and crannies, but up until now, we haven't seen anything except for lots of mice and one mole in the basement over the winter. I looked around the dining room for awhile, spotted my rosemary plant, and it all clicked. A couple nights ago, I brought the big potted plant inside because we were supposed to have frost. The pot has a large self-watering reservoir underneath it, so our little friend must have had a nest in there. For the last few days the scent of rosemary filled our dining room, which struck me as a little strange because rosemary only smells when something rubs up against it to release the oils. Now we know why I was smelling rosemary.
I put the plant back out on our porch and my fingers are crossed our little visitor found his home again. I did some research and flying squirrels are an endangered species, so I'm pleased they're living in our neighborhood.
Let's just hope we don't get more in our dining room.