We live on a slowly dying planet. The least we can do is stop to smell the roses, like this one squirrel was caught doing recently.
The world isn't too great a place right now, but thankfully there are still a few things that can bring instant joy. Like, for example, a photo of a squirrel gasping at the sheer beauty of a daisy. Where do you find something like this, you ask? Right here. Our daily dose of aww comes today from Dick van Duijn, a wildlife photographer from The Netherlands whose photo series capturing the "ziesel" or ground squirrel has gone all but viral over the last few days. The 34-year-old Dutch photographer perfectly captured the moment where a squirrel reached up to smell a bright yellow daisy - presumably to see if it was safe to eat.
Van Dujin took the photos on a short trip to Austria made specifically to photograph the ground squirrels, and took around 200 photos over 2 hours in order to capture the adorable moment. In the photos, a squirrel stands on its hind legs and reaches up to a yellow daisy, which it then sniffs with its eyes closed. The photographer told news outlets that the rodent quickly leaned in for a bite just a moment later.
"I went to Austria especially to photograph the ground squirrels,” said van Duijn, who has been a photographer for seven years. "It was great to witness this, and very satisfying." He added, “This curious ground squirrel started smelling and tasting the flower. I was really happy after capturing a photo like this."
The European ground squirrel is found commonly throughout Eastern Europe, in Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Serbia, Greece, Romania, Bulgaria, and Macedonia. They emerge from their burrows in the daytime to feed on a diet of seeds, plants, and bugs, and as evidenced by van Duijn's photos, a choice of delicious flowers too. They avoid forests and dense ground vegetation and are often found living in meadows and dry grasslands.