Creature Comforts

I’m always touched when I observe wild animals engage in and enjoy behaviors or activities that resemble my own. This is never more true than when an animal’s pose suggests his or her appreciation of those creature comforts most of us relish across species boundaries. Knowing that their struggle for survival is nearly incessant, I’m particularly moved to see wildlife wholly at ease, with their guard down, in a peaceful pose, and possibly with eyes half-closed and a dreamy facial expression.

Their relaxed state reflects, at least for the time being, a sense of safety sufficient to allow them to revel in the luxury of stretching out on a fence, absorbing the warming rays of the sun on a chill morning, seeking a spot in the shade on a hot day, or snuggling in a tree hole to sleep away the day after a night of rascally activity.

“I’m enjoying this sunny spot.”

“It’s so hot I don’t wanna move (I also don’t wanna enunciate).”

“I quite like this cozy tree cavity, though wouldn’t suggest it if you are claustrophobic.”

“We hope you don’t mind if we rest here for a while.”

“I bet you can’t nap in this position.”

One memorable instance that qualifies perhaps less as creature comfort and more as creature exhaustion applies to a certain canine who collapsed on a carpet of pine needles at a campsite in the forest after being dragged on a hike up and down one of Colorado’s tall mountains. Our late pooch, Teddy (technically not wildlife, even though he had some wild streaks), didn’t really need to be dragged, but he was very, very tired after summiting our state’s second-highest peak, Mt. Massive (elevation 14, 428 feet) at an advanced age. But looking at his picture now, many years later, he does look comfortable in his exhaustion. By then, he was well-watered and well-fed and had cooled off in a mountain stream, which would have been his choice for best-ever creature comfort—he never missed a chance to submerge himself in water (and thoughtfully share the refreshing wet by showering us with droplets every time he shook).

“You would be tired, too, after having hiked up and down a fourteener.”

With the heat of summer burning at its furnatial worst, I find myself increasingly drawn to basic yet luxurious pleasures all of us seem to cherish, like a soak in a cool creek, or a restful nap in the shade. In fact, I think I will take one right now. 💤 💤

60 thoughts on “Creature Comforts

  1. Fabulous, fabulous pictures! And such wonderful observations about animals and how their constant scrabbling for survival doesn’t give them many opportunities to relax. Love that picture of Teddy. Beautiful dog!

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  2. The other bonus of critters relaxing in / sheltering from the sun is that they lie still, and are therefore much easier to photograph than when they are engaged in more regular “rascally activity!” 🙂 That squirrel gets my vote in the “cutest critter of the month” contest, and the bunny is wonderful too!

    Thank you for sharing some memories of your late friend Teddy. He was a handsome fellow, and appears to have been a real character.

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    • Animal portraits are definitely easier on resting than moving animals! And Teddy, after a somewhat troubled childhood with changing owners, turned out to be quite the dog. He never lost his character, but did mellow with age.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s an interesting juxtaposition in the consecutive words “wanna enunciate.” And “furnatial” is a good coinage.

    I’ve occasionally seen a squirrel like the one in your first picture, and even more flattened out than that. I’ve been led to believe that splayed pose is designed to cool off in hot weather.

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    • Furnatial is a word I used once before a few years ago when it was similarly hot. I don’t know why it’s not in the dictionary as it expresses the awfulness of too much heat well.

      As far as the splayed posture, it’s easy to imagine that the more parts of one’s body are in contact with a cool surface, the more heat dissipates.

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  4. Must be tough for any wild animals. The weather’s been having so high temperatures that they do not have energy or they do not want to dehydrate for no reason at all. Simple lay down under shade and save your energy. Thank you, Tanja for the great post. 🙂

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  5. That’s one of my favorite squirrel postures. I often see them like that these days, whether on a limb or on my patio railing. Like the spread-wing posture of Great Blue Herons, it’s a way to cool off — or at least to reduce energy expenditure to near zero!

    My current favorite example of animals taking their ease involves a pair of mourning doves that have been coming to my feeders for months. At the end of the day, once the other birds have gone, they show up and just sit in the largest platform feeder, tucked next to each other. They’re clearly a mated pair, and they seem to enjoy just being together. They’ll sit until nearly dark, and then fly off to their nest, or branch, or wherever. I can’t help smiling when I see them.

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    • Any and all postures that serve to cool off are currently in use. For everybody’s sake, I hope this horrible heat wave will abate.

      Your mourning dove pair sounds adorable and I hope they will keep up their routine in order to keep you smiling. I find them so beautiful both in appearance and behavior.

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  6. They all do look quite comfortable and secure. We see squirrels and rabbits in similar poses. The rabbits surprise me as they stretch out right where Bentley comes out of the door. So relaxed but ready to flee once he steps out.

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  7. I like the reminder that there’s not such a big gap between ourselves and (other) animals. And there’s something very appealing about seeing these all relaxing and taking it easy. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. What a superb series showing the opposite of “animals in action”! My kind of collection. I think I emulated that squirrel earlier today while taking a break from yard work.

    Capturing images of creatures relaxing is really special. Well done.

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  9. Pictures are so real Tanja. During summer afternoon we witness a lot of these creatures trying to take a comfortable nap in cool shades. Some will be still panting while lying flat.
    How are you dealing with heat these days?I guess Global warming is there in different places in different ways.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for asking, Deeksha. We have been breaking several heat records in Colorado but are grateful for a week of “normal” heat starting today. We have also had several rainshowers which is helping the drought. But the long-term predictions are still very concerning.
      How are conditions in your home state?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Rains showers are a big relief!!
        Long ter predictions are very much concerning everywhere. Cities where it hardly rained, nowadays it is raining so much that all rain water is just got wasted. Constant rain for 3-4 days is simply flood.
        Our city Bangalore is very comfortable these days.After many days today we saw Sun. It is raining quite satisfactory here. After many years it is raining well.

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  10. Such sweet pics, Tanja. While trying to catch woodchucks in a have-a-heart trap, we caught a racoon instead. I put a light cloth over the cage to calm it while waiting for my neighbor to come and get it. Half and hour later when I checked in on it, the racoon had taken the cloth through the wires of the cage, stretched it out on the bottom of the cage, and was sleeping peacefully on it! So clever!

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  11. Yeah… it’s taking me awhile to catch up these days, but I’m so glad I didn’t miss this post. It was utterly delightful. I sure know that exhausted, but finally refreshed and relaxed feeling. Teddy looks like a perfect pooch. I bet he’s sorely missed. It still tugs at my heart whenever I stumble across a photo of our beloved adventure poodle from hikes and travels in the past! 🥰

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m also glad you didn’t miss this post, Gunta. 😊
      I can relate to your longing when you come across photos of your beloved poodle. Our pets become part of our lives and us and will never be forgotten. I’m glad that the happy memories are the ones that predominate. 🐶

      Liked by 1 person

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