Saturday, 2 June 2007

Southern squirrels

What noise does a squirrel make?

I have been woken up a few times now by an insistent tooting noise, which sounds like quite an angry bird. Finally, a few weeks ago, I crawled out of bed and tried to locate this strange exotic and harmonious bird. There are a number of trees outside my balcony and I could hear the noise quite close by when I opened the patio windows. Searching for the elusive bird I was faced by ............................

A cute wee squirrel saying “toot toot toot”. Seriously and honestly. And not just the one. It seems to be clear that squirrels in Chennai, if not throughout the whole of South India, say “toot toot”. I thought about this very carefully and considered my why the issue of squirrel sounds was troubling me. I realised that the problem lay in the expectation that squirrels would say something more like a throaty kind of tut tut or chirrup chirrup. I think a PhD dissertation on the language of squirrels is needed.

I thought that this needed an expert opinion so I asked hubby J, as a professional naturalist in Nepal and north India. After some thought and consideration his opinion was that “squirrels in the north (of India), and Nepal don‘t talk”. Now isn’t that a highly interesting anthropological and linguistic mystery? Would it not be amazing to get a mixed group of squirrels from South India, North India and Edinburgh together and see if they can understand each other..................

No comments: