Friday, 21 October 2011

21/10: CHIPMUNKS

Expecting 'iffy' weather today, David and I decided to take a bus into the Capital of Fuerteventura - Puerto del Rosario.  Its basically a commercial centre and not very exciting although the Harbour area is quite attractive and today there was a visiting cruise ship, the German AIDA Sol which travels between Madeira and the Canary Islands.  It has 15 decks and carries in excess of 2000 people - It was Huge!.

We had a lovely lunch at a little Spanish restaurant/bar and en route back to the bus station I was really pleased to spot a 'chipmunk' playing on a fenced off landfill site - then I realised there were lots of the little critters chasing each other around.  The dumped rubble and builders' rubbish obviously resembled the sort of terrain they enjoy with lots of ready made tunnels and burrows.

Known locally as chipmunks, Barbary Ground Squirrels are cute little rodents who were introduced to Fuerteventura as pets in the 1960s from their native home in Algeria/Morocco.    They loved this island (don't we all) and its now believed there are more than 300,000 of them living in burrows around the island.  The other Canary Islands consider them to be pests and a potential threat to their existing wildlife and crops so stringent measures are in place to prevent migration.   They look a bit like our English grey squirrels but are much smaller and have distinctive stripes on their bodies.

In some areas of Fuerteventura the 'chipmunks' have become very tame and are happy to take food from tourists' hands but these were not tame and they were very, very fast.   Somebody had thrown food into the landfill site for them so I managed to get a few clear photos when they came to investigate:







This one peeped out from under a rock and had a huge stretch - then stayed like this for several minutes .... looks very strange but he was obviously comfortable 




and just in case you're bored with 'chipmunks' - here's a picture of the cruise liner dwarfing all the other boats in the Harbour

1 comment:

Jan/PetsToPosies.com said...

I guess chipmunks are cute but they look so much like our pesky squirrels that it's hard to really like them. However, your photos are great and you must be thrilled to have gotten them. Do I see some drawings of them in your future?