As the countdown to the big solar eclipse reaches a mere two days, I can’t help but wonder how my backyard critter friends will react to the sudden loss of most of their daylight on Monday. At the peak of its glory sometime in the 1:00 hour, approximately 99.5% of the sun’s surface will be obscured by the moon over Nest HQ. It’s not quite gonna get pitch black on the very inner edge of the moon’s penumbra, but it’s definitely gonna be a pretty dark time for the middle of the afternoon. This is sure to mess up the squirrel’s diurnal nature, especially since exactly 0.0% of the squirrels alive in my neighborhood will have ever experienced this rare astronomical phenomenon before. This is our first solar eclipse of any stripe since 1994.
I’m sure I’ve mentioned this at some point in a previous edition of SS before, but this would be the perfect time to once again educate my readers on the etymology that came together to give us the beautiful word “squirrel.” From the Online Etymology Dictionary:
squirrel (n.) – early 14c., from Anglo-French esquirel, Old French escurueil “squirrel; squirrel fur” (Modern French écureuil), from Vulgar Latin *scuriolus, diminutive of *scurius “squirrel,” variant of Latin sciurus, from Greek skiouros “a squirrel,” literally “shadow-tailed,” from skia “shadow” (see Ascians) + oura “tail,” from PIE root *ors- “buttocks, backside” (see arse). Perhaps the original notion is “that which makes a shade with its tail.” The Old English word was acweorna, which survived into Middle English as aquerne.
So squirrel comes from “Shadow Tail!” Or maybe “Shadow Ass”….
Look out for those Saturday Squirrels lurking in the shadows on Monday!
Have a great weekend everyone!
or maybe it is the squirrelish version of the famous THE SHADOW from the radio show ?
A lot of people are anxious to see how animals will react to this EVENT…..! Guess our squirrel friends won’t be in need of any “umbrella tail” during the great blackout.
Not unless it RAINS, of course! Thankfully, that doesn’t seem to be an issue…
He’s a ninja squirrel, lurking in the shadows. As for the eclipse, unfortunately the next total eclipse is in 2090 (UK) – I’m pretty sure I’ll be dead by then. Monday’s will cover nearly none of the sun and occur just before sunset, so I’m not anticipating much excitement there… 😦
This is supposedly the first total eclipse to pass by my area in 500 years, so they can be frustratingly infrequent. Dang those elliptical orbits anyway. The area just south of me is actually in the path of both this eclipse and the 2024 total…. which also just skirts by me. So I get two 99% totals in 7 years. Lucky me…
That dude needs some fur conditioner to keep the hairs tamed. 😇 But seriously cool pics!
A frizzy tail looks cooler in the shadows than a well groomed one. My squirrels like to keep it wild and crazy….
Turn around, squirrel eyes….
The radio station I listen to is sadistically planning to play that on repeat for the entire three hours the eclipse if happening. I guess they know nobody’s gonna be listening to the radio at that time…
Yikes! That’s just cruel!
Cutest silhouettes ever! I have wondered where the word squirrel came from. Now I have a new name to call them when they ruin my stuff – shadow ass!
Will you be able to go out to observe the eclipse? Since it usually rains here anytime there’s something going on in the sky, I didn’t bother to get any eclipse viewing glasses. We’re about four hours north of the path of totality, or whatever they’re calling it, so I’m not sure if we’ll notice much of a difference. I’ll probably just squirrel watch.
Four hours would probably put up in the 80-85% zone, so you should still get something neat and some dimming. I’ll be able to see it from the spot in my backyard that is always in the sun, and I was able to snag a pair of the glasses from work the one day our display of them lasted. Last time I checked, the forecast still said partly cloudy… which is actually better than our weather has been for most of August. I swear the calendar flipped to October for a few weeks with a lot of cloudy, dreary, cool days!
So you are in the “dark zone?” We are only getting a very small piece of the eclipse. But I’ve seen them before. There was one that went fully dark on the east coast back in the early 70s.
I am just outside of it, about 10 miles north of the totality path. That’s good enough for me, as it’s gonna be nuts in the dark zone, and I’d just as soon stay safely a we bit outside without half the world gawking over my shoulder…
I think the old English name sounds kinda cool. Does scurrilous come from the Latin or evil squirrels???