This Week in Squirrels March 30, 2014

Squirrels cause power problems...

sanjoseA Bay Area squirrel caused a power outage which ultimately disrupted Caltrain service for commuters and cause phone problems for 42 local schools. Sources say the squirrel did not survive.




A squirrel also caused a power outage in Anderson, Indiana.

...and fire

A squirrel nested in a North Carolina attic, but then set its nest on fire after chewing on electrical cords. The second story of the home was damaged, but no humans were injured.

Anarchy in the U.K.

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In perhaps the biggest squirrel news of late, the government in the United Kingdom has given up on the war against the introduced gray squirrel, which has been directly responsible for the decline of the now endangered red squirrel.

criminalLaws previously required people to report gray squirrels on their land (!) or face prosecution, but that law was just overturned because the government does not believe that eradication of the gray squirrel is possible.

This won't stop Scotland from trapping and killing thousands of squirrels in the name of biodiversity.

How did this "cheeky" species become so ubiquitous? Read more about the history of the gray squirrel in the UK here.


Squirrels and the law

In typically Berkeley government waffling, the city council has scrapped the idea to exterminate the ground squirrels in the Marina. The rodents were targeted for digging burrows in toxic land, which may be causing toxins to enter the bay. Now the city is considering squirrel contraception and encouragement of natural predation via raptors. Oh, and cracking down on the "don't feed the squirrel" ordinance.

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And tenants who caused a large apartment building fire in  Michigan have been sued by the insurance companies that had to pay out the big bucks for damages. Why? The tenants used a blowtorch to prep a squirrel for their dinner, which started that very fire.


And in the maybe you should take a lesson from history column...

Some law-makers in Clovis, NM thought it would be nice to see squirrels in the city park, and discussed relocating grey squirrels there. The discussion has been tabled until the squirrels are not in "birthing season" but the main concerns seemed to be that dogs might chase the squirrels, and that there might not be enough food for the squirrels! Folks, my advice: don't move non-native species around! Especially ones as opportunistic as squirrels!

They've taken over the UK, Italy, South Africa and now Canada is taking action to keep this pesky species under control (gray squirrels are on the top 100 invasive species list!).


And this week's cute squirrel fixes

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When ground squirrels hibernate, they aren't messing around. If only I could sleep so well. Learn more about the process of hibernation in ground squirrels here! Note: Unlike their ground-dwelling relatives,  tree squirrels do not hibernate, and must rely on the food they store to get through the winter.





A mangy squirrel was itching so hard he fell out of a tree and scraped his head. Wildlife rescuers made a turtleneck sweater for him to stop him from scratching obsessively. Once they nursed him back to health they sent him on his way. Awww.



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