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Squirrels licking?

Posted by keithdirt z5 IN (My Page) on
Sun, Apr 14, 13 at 16:50

Just thought I'd ask a question. I'm a longtime wildlife watcher and bird watcher, bird feeder, backyard gardner, etc... but this is a new one on me.

We are in the final stages of construction on a new house and have been having fun watching various wildlife finally get used to the house being there and just starting to come around. The house in in the middle of 68 acres of woodlands that we've finally been able to afford building on after 20 years. A very wild place, very peaceful, quite secluded.

Anyway, the backyard is still just a mixture of clay and dirt with a new patio sticking out from the house into it. We have been watching squirrels come into the yard, play around on the dirt and get near the patio and then start to LICK the rocks and dirt near it. They get right up to the same area each time and lick for minutes at a time. Several mornings in a row. (These are gray squirrels in S. Indiana)

Two things:

One, this is an area of ground that the adult human males (construction workers, etc.,) have taken many leaks on since there is no plumbing yet and there's no grass to kill and it's close, fast, etc. I know, gross, but that's us guys for you.

Two, the patio drains off onto the same place.

I'm wondering: is there minerals or salt that they are coming back for, almost every morning? Has anyone else seen squirrels licking the ground for minutes at a time in places? I just can't figure out what they're after...

Anyone have ideas?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Squirrels licking?

I wonder if they are finding ants there, or maybe dew. Could they be thirsty? The mineral/salt thing seems likely also. Any new ideas since posting this?

Your place sounds lovely!

RE: Squirrels licking?

Can't be ants, the ground has been too disturbed to have any quite yet, but they probably aren't far behind. Have no ideas still, but they've been back and brought friends... more are doing this all the time and getting quite brave about it.

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