Wildlife

While Daffodilians enjoy celebrating, most of the time “wildlife” in Daffodil Township refers to our non-domesticated neighbors with feathers, fins and fur. Usually a visit to our town is a relaxing getaway…but maybe your visit will bring you a little bit of the WILDlife we Daffodilians enjoy every day!

Located in “The Heart of the Heartland,” Daffodil Township hosts a variety of wildlife – some common and some not-so-common:

Squirrels

The playful nature of squirrels is always an inspiration to Daffodilians!

The playful nature of squirrels is always an inspiration to Daffodilians!

The squirrels of Daffodil Township are regularly voted “Most Frolicsome Squirrels of Missouri” by readers of the Daffodil Gazette. While Daffodilians readily regale visitors with squirrel stories that have been passed down through their families through generations, often tourists enjoy seeing for themselves the comedic antics of our bushy-tailed neighbors.

Local squirrel historian, Doug Carl Wright, is quick to point out that not all of our little frolicsome friends are quite so bushy-tailed. He recalls the first time he saw one of the township’s Naked-Tailed Squirrels:

Harry Wright (1904-1989) was known for his uncanny ability to communicate with squirrels.

Harry Wright (1904-1989) was known for his uncanny ability to communicate with squirrels. He’s shown here (c. late 1940s) with a little fellow he called “Buddy.”

“It was 1965 or ’66 – I was a counselor at Camp Lottawata and Harry Wright came to talk to the campers about squirrels. He was sort of a squirrel-whisperer and the boys were looking forward to his visit.

“So Harry starts telling the tale of ‘How the squirrel lost his tail fur’ and we’re all thinking, “squirrels haven’t lost their tail fur” but Harry kept on weaving his tale. It went something like:

“Squirrel had only borrowed his bushy tail from the Gray Fox and Squirrel would always taunt Gray Fox by flicking his tail and prancing thisaway and that, always running up a tree to get away from Gray Fox. Well, one day Gray Fox had enough and decided that he was going to do whatever it took to get his bushy tail back from Squirrel. So Gray Fox moved far away from Squirrel for a whole year, practicing and practicing and by springtime when he came back, he knew how to climb a tree. So when Squirrel starting strutting around and flicking his bushy tail, Gray Fox chased him. And when Squirrel ran up the tree, Gray Fox ran right up after him! That ol’ Gray Fox swiped his bushy tail right back from Squirrel.

Well about the time Harry got to that part of the story, a little squirrel pops out of Harry’s jacket pocket and ran up his arm. That little guy had a totally naked tail! Now Harry was also quite a prankster and at first we all thought he’d brought a rat with him – looked just like a rat – but no. It was a squirrel, all right.

We still have some Naked-Tailed Squirrels running around Daffodil Township – but they make easy prey so they mostly stay out of sight. It’s considered good luck if you see one while the daffodils are in bloom.”

Turtles

Autumn in Cobb Creek Wilderness Area brings a plethora of turtles.

Autumn in Cobb Creek Wilderness Area brings a plethora of turtles. The above turtle waits for the human intrusion to go away so he can play with the other turtles.

While the Heartland is known for the well-traveled box turtle, Daffodilians are blessed with an even greater abundance of these helmeted reptiles. Each spring and fall sees Daffodil Township’s turtle population on the move. The joke: “Why did the turtle cross the road?” has an easy answer for Daffodilians: “To get to Cobb Creek!”

While most people don’t think of turtles as playful creatures, many Daffodilians disagree. “When I went away to college my friends thought I was lying when I told the story about how I used to go to Cobb Creek with my grandfather to watch the turtles play,” explains Richard Wright, owner of Daffodil Baking Company. “But it’s true. Watching turtles at play teaches patience and humility.”