This week in squirrels May 2016, Part II

You can’t make this stuff up

sqshootIn Colorado, a dispute arose over whether a man should be feeding local squirrels. Folks in the community were apparently concerned about the fact that he was feeding peanuts to the squirrels, which could be problematic to local children with nut allergies. These concerned neighbors posted flyers, and at some point a tete a tete between the squirrel feeder (Jon Barbour) and a neighbor occurred. Things escalated, the men accused each other of being “white trash,” punches were thrown, and Barbour consequently shot the neighbor in the buttocks. He called police to turn himself in, was arrested, and now faces attempted murder charges, and from 8-32 years in prison.

But the story doesn’t end there. Barbour defended his squirrel feeding frenzy (apparently leaving “pounds of peanuts” out for our twitchy friends) by explaining that feeding squirrels was how he communed with the spirits of his dead parents. I’ll be following this case, as the preliminary trial happens on June 9th.

Crime and squirrels

A home invasion was averted…by a glass door. That didn’t stop the squirrel from trying...a few times

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This squirrel did make it into a woman’s home, even into her bed. But he was busted by police.

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A man was cited for firing a pellet gun in his backyard, shooting two squirrels while he was at it, and another man was busted trying to steal two squirrel traps from Home Depot.

Omaha’s police station had their own mascot squirrel, with her own twitter handle @OpdSquirrel. She recently turned up dead in the police station parking lot. The death was not considered suspicious.

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In Wisconsin, a woman called the police for help freeing a stuck squirrel from a fence, and police were also called to help a squirrel in Winona, MN who got stuck in a city garbage bin.

And not quite a crime, but a woman in Ohio drove into a house when she swerved to avoid hitting a squirrel.

Perhaps not the cheapest way to cook a squirrel

Back in 2012, a man basically destroyed a 32-unit building by trying to remove a squirrel's skin with a blow torch. Instead he burned down the apartment building. His girlfriend (who was the registered tenant) is now being held responsible for $2 million in damages.

Crimes AGAINST squirrels

City workers in Pennsylvania were painting new stripes in the road, and rather than move a dead squirrel, just painted right over it!

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Squirrel attacks

There's no shortage of animal-related injuries in Scotland. I'm not sure why the squirrel was scapegoated, as it seems that dogs and cats are responsible for most of these injuries. However, mice, monkeys and pigs were also represented in the count.

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And in South West England, a "squirrel gang" confronted a family, becoming one of several recent incidents where squirrels bit humans.

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And a brazen squirrel jumped on a man in NYC. The video ends with the jump, so what happened next is unknown.

Squirrels and raccoons, in cahoots

In a rare example of intraspecies "cooperation," it appears that squirrels and raccoons have joined forces to bust into Canadian trash cans. By chewing holes in the bins, it appears that the squirrels have established a path for raccoons to reach in and grab food. The city recommends spraying hot sauce on the bins to deter squirrel chewing.

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and let’s hope there’s no hot sauce shortage anytime soon, as it’s also recommended as the way to keep squirrels out of your bird feeder. A researcher in Maryland just patented “chili birdseed.”

More power outages

Squirrels shut down an NBC affiliate station in Springfield, MA this week, and took out the power in Granite Falls, NC and Cookeville, TN.

A "squirrel king"

Apparently animals getting all tangled together by their tails is a real thing. Five Canadian squirrels "tied the knot" so to speak, and required veterinary assistance to be set free.

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Want bobcats to visit?

Apparently it helps to have squirrels around.

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Squirrels and sports

A squirrel in South Africa disrupted a cricket game. According to the article "A barefoot lady laid a trail of nuts" to lure the squirrel off the field, but that was not sufficient.

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This week in cute

We especially seem to love when animals act like us. Hence, the viral video of a squirrel in a chair, eating corn.

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The gray vs. red controversy continues

In the UK, the gray squirrel has basically driven the red squirrel to endangerment, due to competition for similar resources and the fact that the gray squirrel carries, but is immune to squirrel pox (which is deadly to the small but fierce red squirrel). There is never a shortage of news related to the battle between two squirrel species!

How did the problem begin? Apparently an English Duke brought some American gray squirrels to the UK in 1890. They've been unstoppable since.

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Another lovely summary of the history of this problem (WELL WORTH A READ!) was recently posted on Atlas Obscura.

In Scotland, gray squirrels were recently seen "breaching" the Red Squirrel Protection Line, suggesting that this problem is far from over.

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The question is how to save the red squirrel? One option: reintroduction into select areas.

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And saving abandoned baby reds if they are found!

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Was this squirrel bridge an epic failure?

Perhaps inspired by Longview, Washington, the city with five squirrel bridges (and a sixth on the way), the Mayor of the Hague in Holland had an expensive squirrel bridge constructed. Unfortunately, only five squirrels have used the bridge in the four years since it was built, leading residents to cry foul.

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And speaking of Longview, the city with a yearly squirrel fest and many squirrel bridges has (FINALLY!) named the squirrel as its official mascot.




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