This week in squirrels February 16, 2015

When a squirrel enters your house and eats your fig newtons, what to do?

This article recounts one woman’s experience of a squirrel breaking into her home, turning on the water, eating her fig newtons, and then taking a nap in her bed. Moral of the story: don’t panic, call animal control, then find a way to keep them from coming back in!

Squirrels fighting over…

Many people are disappointed to learn that squirrels are not particularly social or friendly with each other. They do spend a lot of time fighting and chasing each other, and these behaviors are exascerbated when competing over resources such as…

A pine cone

pinecone

A bird feeder

birdfeeder

But it sure makes for good photos!

Baby red squirrel rescued

A baby squirrel was found on the side of the road, clinging to her dead mother’s body. Mom had been hit by a car, but wildlife rehabbers are saving the baby, now named Ewok. Ewok will be released into the wild once she is old enough.

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Eating squirrels

If you can’t beat ‘em, eat ‘em?

What is the best way to kill a squirrel? This article outlines a few ways to manage “pests” in the UK, where it appears that cull & nosh is the preferred method of gray squirrel control these days. They refer to squirrels as a tree-rat, I prefer “chicken of the tree.” Once again, just mentioning that I am vegetarian and do not necessarily endorse squirrel-eating. Just reporting the news, folks.

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“Squirrel Special”

Conservative member of Parliament, Mark Field, recently enjoyed some squirrel at an Indian restaurant. He tried the rajasthani-spiced “Squirrel Special,” expressing that the meat tasted like a cross between pigeon and rabbit.

tory

Squirrel enchiladas?

Even TV chef Jamie Oliver is getting in on the squirrel eating trend. A recent episode featured a pub in the UK with an extensive squirrel menu, including “Essex fried squirrel,” squirrel ragu, tandoori squirrel and squirrel BBQ sauce enchiladas.

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Conservation corner

Kickstarting for squirrels

Researchers in Belfast are hoping to find out why the pine marten seems to be reducing pesty gray squirrel populations while not impacting the endangered reds. Right now, ecologist David Tosh is gathering data on the behavioral responses of grays and reds to the scent of pine martens. He is seeking financial assistance (mostly for gas mileage, but also for sunflower seeds) to collect more data! Read more here!

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Red squirrels released in a gray squirrel-free zone

Apparently there is still at least one place in the UK that has not been invaded by gray squirrels. Conservationists are using Mersea Island as a site for recolonization by the endangered red squirrel, in the hopes that they will “go forth and multiply.”

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News flashback: When a squirrel nest caused a car crash

As this news story reports, 25 years ago, a squirrel’s nest in the engine of the car caused a man’s brakes to jam, leading him to drive his car into a house. Now I want to know, how quickly can a squirrel build a nest?

Amateur squirrel photo contest

Got some amazing squirrel photos you’d like to share? Has a squirrel photo-bombed your vacation pics? The Washington Post is having their yearly squirrel photo contest. The squirrels can be experts, but you must be an amateur photographer to enter.

The deadline is 11:59 p.m. ET on March 27, 2015. More details here!

 

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