This is not the first time I’ve had animal intruders in my living space. The siafu ants marching into my tent, a toad who I had to rescue and relocate outside, and lizards who crawl on every internal surface. On my return to the safariLIVE, camp in South Africa, I found myself once again dealing with a few furry roommates.

As I unpacked my possessions in my new room, I heard a loud scratching noise from a corner of the room. Turning, I was startled by two furry faces sticking out of a hole in the ceiling. I found myself looking at two squirrels!

The squirrels immediately leaped out of the ceiling, scurrying across my shelves and knocking over a bundle of my clothes. I yelped, hurrying backwards, somewhat frightened (don’t laugh). One squirrel shot out a window like a thunderbolt, while the other hit the floor and disappeared through a small crack in the floorboards. Just as quickly as they appeared, they were gone.

That was how I discovered some squirrels had taken up residence in my room.

I believe the squirrel family is living in the ceiling, as I often hear skittering up there and will often see one emerge from a small hole in the roof. It’s a weird feeling, being quite aware you’re sharing a living space with animals. The squirrels, of course, haven’t bothered me yet. They avoid me whenever they see me and are probably quite terrified themselves of this strange animal that’s move into their downstairs living quarters.

I catch many glimpses of the squirrels throughout the day, seeing them scurrying from my house’s roof onto nearby trees, doubtlessly off to go foraging. In the early hours of the morning, I’m also occasionally awakened by them. I see them climbing down from the roof, scurrying down the window or sometimes, they emerge from the hole in the ceiling and race across my shelf, disappearing outside in the early African dawn.

Once, I might have been disgusted at sharing a living space with animals, never mind small fuzzy rodents. But time and experience have been kind to me, I now don’t see them as anything more than an occasional nuisance. After all, they took up residence in the room before I did. It’s only fair that I be a good house guest and leave them alone. And besides, it’s not like I’m sharing a room with a snake or scorpion (yet!). They are just squirrels, after all.

Written by Jake McDaniel

Featured Image Credit: James Hendry