Crossing the gate: The ringtails show how it’s done

What’s the easiest way to get from one side of our driveway to the other? Walk across on the ground, you say? Well, not if you’re a ringtail (or a squirrel).

We’ve been watching a mama ringtail teaching her little one the how to cross the driveway without getting dirty feet. Mama tippy-toes across by walking on the pointy tops of the vertical bars. She’s utterly sure-footed and zips along like a dancer. The little one has a different solution – s/he balances on the top horizontal bar and weaves in and out of the verticals. It’s a long trip, but when perfectly executed it’s a joy to watch. It’s also clever – and quite funny. To the dog agility trainers out there trying to teach Rover to do weave poles, eat your hearts out.

After a couple of weeks of weaving, the baby decided it was time to copy mama and, after a few failed attempts, he was sailing across the top (almost) like a pro.

Our local squirrels seem to have the same aversion to getting their tiny feet dirty and the same need to train their pups on driveway-crossing protocols. The mama squirrel in this clip may have the best technique of all; she bunny-hops across the top. It’s hard to explain how, so you’ll just have to watch the video.

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