Thursday, March 08, 2012
We patched squirrel holes and other gaps on the north side of the cage near the nest, two above the rain roof, and one on the wall near the bath pan. Hein put steel siding on the ladder leading up to the nest hatch door to prevent climbing critters from getting up there. I added lots of nesting material to the nest so Rusty can't dig all the way down to China.
Hein installed a dome illuminator near the nest and I removed the hot box from the food tray table. Since it's kind of warm now, I also put in and filled the bath pan. While we were in there I also picked up all the gopher remains, pellets and poop. Whew, it feels good to have all that done!!!!
We watched anxiously for the infrared illuminator to kick in to see what it would look like. It's marvelous...just like someone put in a light bulb near the nest! We were also happy to see that Rusty enthusiastically jumped into his role digging in the nest to prepare a new nest bowl.
While in the cage I noticed some chewed walnuts inside the walls near the bath pan. I assume the squirrels that were in the cage weeks ago did this and have since left them. But that night I got an answer to the question of what the heck is digging and chewing so loudly on that side of the cage: MICE! The mice are running in and around the walnut shells, rattling them as the move around. And they didn't stay put over there either...they had to check out the new nesting material in the nest. Of course Rusty and Iris ignored them.
It seems we're on the road to renesting. On Monday I counted all of Rusty and Iris' copulations, for a total of 16! I don't think they're keeping up that pace every day (I'm not counting), but Rusty sure seems intent on making more fertile eggs yet this year.