Chipmunks, Sunsets and Barbary Squirrels!

Chipmunk Mountain DSCN9463

OK, so what on earth have these three things got to do with each other? Well, not a lot really, except that this sunset was taken back in January 2014 from Costa de Antigua, looking over Caleta de Fuste to what is known locally as Chipmunk Mountain, while the sun drops behind it. The real name of the hill is Montana Blanca.

The name of ‘Chipmunk Mountain’ is a bit of a misnomer really. Named after the small mammals that no longer frequent the area as they used to, but the trouble is, although many call them Chipmunks they are really Barbary Ground Squirrels!

Barbary Ground Squirrel
Barbary Ground Squirrel

Barbary Ground Squirrels are not indigenous to Fuerteventura, but were actually introduced to the island in 1965 from Africa. They adapted to the climate and terrain extremely well, and now thousands populate the island. In many areas they are quite tame due to being fed by tourists. However, the authorities ask you NOT to feed them. As cute as they are they’re actually vermin. Their population has increased so much that they destroy much of the natural habitat. When people start feeding them it also encourages rats and mice to the area.

Anyway, back to Chipmunk Mountain! I remember one of the first times we first visited the island, back in the 1980s, we stayed in a complex at the bottom of the mountain. Back then we were the last row of properties, unlike today! One day we walked to the top. It turned out to be much further than we thought, and it was extremely windy at the top, but the views were fabulous.

Since then of course the area has changed tremendously, and now houses adorn the east side almost to the top, with more building still ongoing.

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