This Week in Squirrels, July 29 2014

A squirrel’s guide to life

Imagine you are a squirrel: Should you trust humans? Should you cross the street? How do you get ladies and food? Being a squirrel isn’t easy…but now there’s the “Squirrel Code” (spoofing something I’m obviously too old and unhip to know about) to help you survive. (May not be suitable for work)

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 In the hunting corner…

Squirrel tails are worth money! Mepps Spinners is paying cold, hard cash (26 cents each) for high-quality squirrel tails. You may want to know that if you fish, you might be using lures made of squirrel tail. It just seems wrong somehow, to use squirrels to catch fish.

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Do you wonder what the best gun is for hunting squirrel? Field & Stream is on it.

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In rather sad news, someone shot a squirrel with a bow and arrow in Wassau, Wisconsin, outside of hunting season to boot. No one has been caught yet.

City commissioners in Bentonville, Arkansas allotted $5K to promote a squirrel cook-off that is anticipated to draw visitors from 13 states, all coming to eat squirrel (they also gave funds to an event called the “Bacon Bowl”).

City Squirrel, Country Squirrel

Like the hoards of humans, it seems like the New York City squirrels barely notice you are there. Compared to their country cohort, urban squirrels let humans get close, suggesting they don’t feel particularly threatened by people (perhaps it’s all the food that humans give them in parks?), unless the humans are staring at them.

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Squirrel-related Deaths

A squirrel was blamed for a case of rabies in Costa Rica. I’ve been told that squirrels are not harbingers of rabies, but this should give us all some reason to pause before hand-feeding a wild critter.

In Northern China, health experts believe that a fatal case of the plague was caused by squirrels. The report states that a man handled a dead marmot and fed it to his dogs; he died shortly afterward. Doctors now recommend keeping a “safe distance” from rodents, dead or alive.

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Power outages

Squirrels caused trouble in Bellevue, WA, where almost 3000 folks were left without power after a squirrel “interfered” with equipment. There was also a power outage in Connelsville, PA. All officials had to say was “The cause was a squirrel.”

Even worse, some people were stuck on an elevator after a squirrel-related power outage in Lumberton, North Carolina.

And perhaps worst of all, some people were left without television in Grant County, WA when a squirrel blew a transformer, destroying the fiber optic lines that carry television signals.


Squirrels and politics

In what may be a wacky Canada moment, a movement is growing to vote a squirrel in as Mayor of Toronto. Not sure if any squirrel will do, or if they have a particular rodent in mind.

Squirrel lives the dream, then panics

This squirrel got trapped in a squirrel-resistant bird-feeder long enough for the owner to do a photo shoot. The squirrel first snacked, then panicked until he managed to get himself out of the feeder. Will the squirrel break in again? That remains to be seen.

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Squirrel rescue stories

In India, a baby squirrel fell into an oil jar at a bus stop (an oil jar? why at a bus stop? I’m confused). A man heard the squirrel’s cries, and took him to a wildlife rehabilitation center, where he was cared for until well. 

Wonder what it’s like to be a squirrel rehabilitator? Devoted to wildlife, Jackie Marsden tells tales of climbing trees, nursing baby squirrels and spending five hours a day caring for wild animals (on top of her day job!). 

UK park rangers are taking care of Flower, a red squirrel who was abandoned by her mother. Escot Park houses red squirrels in an acre-large facility designed to protect them from the naughty grey squirrels, who compete with reds for food, and also spread squirrel pox, endangering the survival of red squirrels.

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Even Prince Charles is down with the red squirrel conservation movement, making a recent visit to the Wildlife Trust in Scotland to show his support. 

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How did that happen?

Genes are magical things, and this squirrel in Cedar Springs, Michigan ended up with a white tail!

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