Richard and Maxine stay in a two-story home in Los Angeles with a big balcony, a fire, a flat-screen TV and a somewhat cozy-looking sofa. Trellis traces a number of exterior partitions of the home, which overlook an expansive garden. Their neighbor, Derrick Downey Jr., designed and constructed the house. However not like most adults, Richard and Maxine do not pay for his or her mortgage, furnishings or meals.
That is as a result of Richard and Maxine are squirrels.
Whereas a squirrel home would not appear to be as well-liked as a hen home IRL, it certain will get plenty of love on-line for creating enjoyable environments for the little mammals to feed on. Some folks, like Downey, who describes his interactions with squirrels on Instagram as @derrickdowneyjr, say the closeness helps him bond with the animals.
“The bond I’ve with Richard and Maxine and all the opposite neighborhood squirrels is one thing that is been nurtured for years,” says Downey, including that “there is a sort of connection there.”
And he is not the one one. The web is stuffed with images, movies, and #squirrelhouse content material full of squirrel constructions that vary from a cottage-y picnic desk to a retro midcentury-modern bungalow — all designed to lure the bushy-tailed rodents. Even celebrities become involved; For instance, Demi Lovato put in squirrel-sized tables and a feeding station on her Los Angeles property.
“Getting folks to speak extra and know extra about squirrels is efficacious simply when it comes to a [cultivating a] better appreciation for nature, our surroundings, and biodiversity,” defined Ben Dantzer, an affiliate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology who research squirrels on the College of Michigan.
However not like some creatures, equivalent to bats and different native pollinators, whose habitats have been endangered by people, neighborhood squirrels do not need assistance to outlive, consultants say.