Each and every day, on my way home from work, I take a little stroll through Parc La Fontaine. Living so close to La Fontaine affords such a pleasant daily stroll, which is made even enjoyable for the abundance of squirrels to be found in the park.
But I noticed something recently, a marked difference in the bushy tailed creatures that jump to and fro in Parc La Fontaine. The once trim, agile, and adorable squirrels of the park have become, well, to put it bluntly, f*cking fat.
If you've paid attention to the squirrel population of Montreal lately, then you know what I'm talking about. Every time I've spotted a squirrel in the city, whether the critter be in a park, climbing up a street-side tree, or digging through a garbage can, they've all shared one strange and striking new feature.
Namely, the squirrels of Montreal have put on some weight. A lot of weight, more than I (or any of my friends and colleagues) have noticed before.
The exact same thing is happening in Toronto, and winter is to blame. Or, more specifically, a lack thereof.
According to David Sugarman, a senior researcher at the Ontario Science Centre who spoke to Metro Toronto, the mild winter weather being experienced in Montreal and Toronto has prompted a serious weight-gain in the squirrel population of both cities.
As many of you are probably already getting ready to comment, yes, squirrels gaining a bit of fat for the winter is very normal. It happens every year, as squirrels pack on some extra weight to last through the winter.
Because while squirrels don't hibernate, they definitely don't move around as much in the winter, nor have as much food readily accessible. So, to ensure they have enough calories to last through a sluggish winter, squirrels fatten up in the fall.
But things are a bit different this year. The mild fall-like weather has put off Montreal's squirrels annual winter resting period.
Ordinarily, squirrels would already be hiding away from the snow and cold by now, but with the weather as warm as it is, they have more time to eat, and by consequence, get fatter than ever before.
There's no real downside to the weight gain for squirrels other than a mild decrease in their agility, just in case you were getting worried a furry little guy was going to get a clogged artery. And besides, the weight gain will go away by next year, once Montreal's squirrels hide away from the snow, which will come soon enough.
So if you've been noticing fatter-than-normal squirrels in Montreal, know that you aren't crazy, or being a fat-shaming asshole.
And can we all please revel in the fact that squirrels are basically just like us in winter? Gaining weight, hiding away from the cold, only returning to a lithe and slim body once the warm weather hits...sounds a lot like my winter lifestyle. Squirrels are just like us!