Do not feed or annoy the bears — or chipmunks

Algonquin Canoe Trip Journal — Part Six

We didn’t have bears at our campsites, but there were plenty of chipmunks and red squirrels. Nuisance chipmunks and red squirrels. They were everywhere, lurking in the shadows, emerging from time to time to beg for handouts.

Juvenile snowshoe hare at our campsite — hiding his nuts from the red squirrels

They will gnaw holes in your tent or pack, so you can’t keep food, toothpaste, shampoo or anything with a scent in there. That means you have to put toiletries in the food box and hoist it up on the bear rope every night.

On the first day at Algonquin, I hurled stones at a few red squirrels. Ken warned me that, if I killed one, I’d have to eat it. So I hurled insults at them instead. Which had the same effect as throwing stones at them. Nothing.

I’ve been told that red squirrels will bite the testicles of rival squirrels. I don’t know whether they do the same thing to other species, but I wasn’t taking any chances. I slept on my stomach.