Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Animal Splay

When the temperatures climb, the animals splay.
They won't do this if someone is near, so the photos are blurry. I was tiptoeing close and zooming in:

He caught me!

It's difficult to see from this angle, but the squirrel's entire underbelly is smashed up against the wood, his limbs bent out to the side. From above he looks like a chicken butterflied for the grill.

Likewise, this blue jay's underbelly is smashed up against the mulch, wings splayed, beak open:

They hold these positions, keeping absolutely still, for several minutes, choosing only dry, unvegetated surfaces. I'll think I have a dead animal on my hands and as I creep close they suddenly take off!
Photos: Bix


Constance said...

Poor things, is it because they don't sweat or pant efficiently enough to cool themselves? The first time I saw a squirrel doing this (also on a deck rail) something about the posture creeped me out: what would kill a squirrel by squashing it like that?

Dr. Mel said...

Well! I've never seen birds do this! That's amazing--I didn't realize birds lie down at all. Have have seen squirrels, chippies, and other rodentian types do this. Also my dogs (but not cats--they tend to lie on their backs w/ their bellies up!).

Bix said...

The robins. Oh my god, the robins. And they blend in so well it just looks like a pile of dead leaves.

I don't know if it cools them. That's my guess, but maybe it has something to do with their lice&flea population?

Perovskia said...

Heh.. I've never seen that before. Great pics.

Suzanne said...

My housebunnies do this -- very cute.

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