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Squirrels and other pests

Posted by ronald Z5 MI (My Page) on
Wed, Apr 5, 06 at 13:15

Every year there is a discussion on our forum about the destructive nature of squirrels. Every year there are those that chose sides either for or against the controlling these pests.
I have posted here because it is an off topic subject.
I would like to have a calm , intelligent discussion on this topic without hurting anyones feelings.
Let me start by saying I am an animal lover. I have 2 cats and a dog (all neutered). I feed the birds and squirrels. We even have a moma squirrel that climbs up on the back porch storm door and scratches until someone brings her something to eat. They have no fear of my cats and the cats seem to enjoy playing with them chasing them around the yard until they climb a tree and chatter at them.

I live in a city environment, older neighborhood (1930s) with lots of mature trees. My lot is 100x135 with 4 mature hickory trees that produce a lot of nuts. Every year there is 6-10 new baby squirrels running around my yard. These young squirrels are the destructive ones. They dig just for the sake of digging because thats what squirrels do.
Last fall I covered 2 front beds with wire mesh to protect a number of bulbs. It did no good. The beds looked like they had been bombed. They dug under the wire mesh and tore up everything.

We try to protect our plants from slugs , caterpillars and other bugs. We protect ourselves from mosquitoes, fire ants , bees and wasps. We protect our homes from termites , mice and rats. We kill these creatures without a second thought.
Here in Michigan there are somewhere between 75000 and 100000 deer killed every year during hunting season. We are told that if these deer are not killed they will likely die of starvation.

Why are squirrels any different? Is it because they are cute and entertain us with their antics ? At what point do we draw the line?

Ron


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Squirrels and other pests

Very thoughtfully put. I am anxious to see the responses.


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RE: Squirrels and other pests

Last year we trapped 7-8 squirrels from our attic. My husband placed screen over all the vents, but the tree rats still found their way inside.

All my plants near the fence always get chopped of. We rarely get to eat our peaches. Anything newly planted always get dug up. I hate the tree rats.

I hate stray cats and domesticated cats that come into my garden and make mess too. Boy, several spots in my garden stink to high heaven. I nearly toss my meal everytime I have to clean up after them. I read that if you leave some citrus rinds around the garden, cats would not come near them. That seems to work a while. Ben-gay or any smelly medication is supposed to deter cats too.

But squirrels? I don't know how to deal with them. Bloodmeal seems to work for a while, I think.


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RE: Squirrels and other pests

Being in Canada, the annual seal-hunt is a hot topic right now, and for sure many have reflected on the fact that if the seal pups were not so "gosh-darn-cute" their slaughter might not have attracted the attention of so many celebrities and others. Some may be swayed by their "cuteness", but personally, it is not about appearances but the issue of death by torturous pain and brutality. We have all seen those pictures. (If something has to be killed, do it humanely.) I am one of those fools that actually relocates spiders and other bugs that wander into my house during the summer, rather than reach for nearest swatter. I guess after I am dead and gone, I'd rather been remembered as someone who wanted to do as little harm to living things as possible, and that includes fauna as well as flora.

We also have the problem of deer over-population here. But so many of these imbalances are caused by human activity - destruction of habitat - cutting down forests to create acres and acres of cow-corn for cattle that produce huge amounts of methane harmful to the environment. Ah, that's another subject, but really it isn't - it's all connected - and that is why such attitudes as reaching for a gun to get rid of "pests" is so disturbing. It's the message that reads: "I am man - I am superior - and I will destroy what gets in my way to survive." These days the definition of what consists of actual survival is questionable. Cave-men had more serious challenges for sure, and eventually our planet, with its dwindling resources and it precarious weather patterns will necessitate a return to basic survival methods.

Bottom line, if a skunk is crossing my yard nightly, no big deal (he may leave holes in my lawn, but also is doing me the favour of ridding it of grubs); if he moves into my porch - okay a bigger deal, and I'll have him relocated. If he gets into the house, yes, something more drastic may be required. It's a matter of proportion and perspective. But people who get downright gleeful when talking about shooting animals with pellet guns and such - tells me a lot about their view of the world. It's a big clue. So you lost a few seedlings or plants? Grow some more! It's not like you are growing the last tree on earth and all the seeds were lost, and it's all up to you to keep the species going.

I too have been frustrated by squirrels digging things up, but as I said on the other thread, that is what is nice about WS - we get so many seedlings, losing a few is not a huge issue. And because of these guys, I also grow only daffodils for spring - no tulips or crocuses - I adapted - no big deal.

And when I really, really get mad at something that's been destroyed by a critter, I go get an ice-cold beer and chill!

Anna


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RE: Squirrels and other pests

  • Posted by donn_ 7a, GSB, LI, NY (My Page) on
    Wed, Apr 5, 06 at 16:59

"..it is not about appearances but the issue of death by torturous pain and brutality. We have all seen those pictures. (If something has to be killed, do it humanely.)"

"..and that is why such attitudes as reaching for a gun to get rid of "pests" is so disturbing. It's the message that reads: "I am man - I am superior - and I will destroy what gets in my way to survive.""

"But people who get downright gleeful when talking about shooting animals with pellet guns and such - tells me a lot about their view of the world."

Sorry, Ron, but I can't have this discussion with someone who is so obviously misinformed and prejudiced, but who doesn't hesitate to preach to the rest of us.


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RE: Squirrels and other pests

Well, I made my post to the other thread before reading Anna's original post. I normally steer well away from things that may blow up, but since I posted over there, here I go...

I am a nature lover. I spent a lot of years thinking about how human beings are the worst things on the planet, etc, etc. I'm not being trite; this still bothers me. But I wasn't doing the planet or myself any good being negative.

We own about 50 acres of land, mostly wooded, and we intend to keep it that way. If I have a chance to get more land I will. I want to provide habitat for as much wildlife as is sensible. I have always wanted to get into wildlife rehabilitation. But for now I also have children, and as a living being on this planet, I want to provide for them. (And yes, I've gone through the whole issue of population - how about I just raise some environmentally-conscious kids, and we'll hope they make such a difference that it's a good thing they were born!) If I have a problem with animals getting into my vegetable garden, or killing my chickens (ESPECIALLY if they aren't even going to eat them), I have no problem with trying the BB gun method. Yes, a squirrel or raccoon, even a coyote might be "doing what is natural", but so am I if I defend my territory and our food. I don't enjoy killing anything, in fact, I still haven't managed to kill a chicken. But I may take up hunting this year, to stock our freezer. That doesn't mean I have no respect for life. I actually think eating everything prepackaged is making us less humble.

I sincerely hope you don't believe everyone who makes a humorous comment about wanting to shoot a squirrel or raccoon holds an "I am man - I am superior" attitude. I think the comments in the original thread were made in a joking manner because we are trying to relate to one another without making it too serious. I didn't convey all of the angst I went through over shooting a BB gun at a raccoon, my FAVORITE animal. I didn't need to. We were talking about a problem we ALL have in common: sharing space on this planet. I also think that it IS humane to let them know where I would like my territory to be! I can imagine if I stuck my hand into their nest, foraging for something to survive on, they would tear into me, and have no remorse about any wounds, infections, or diseases I might retain. If they were big enough, they might even kill me.

In order to be humane, you must first BE human. And being human, as you have already pointed out, does not make us perfect or all-knowing. I'll leave that up to God.

Sorry to ramble, I know we all have a different perspective, and mine changes daily, so I hope I don't come across as stirring up trouble. Just my thoughts at the moment.

Angel


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RE: Squirrels and other pests

  • Posted by donn_ 7a, GSB, LI, NY (My Page) on
    Wed, Apr 5, 06 at 18:16

"..I know we all have a different perspective, and mine changes daily..

As does mine, Angel. That's an important sort flexibility to have in a world capable of discovering such previously unheard of ideas as the potential fact that up to a third of the methane entering our atmosphere comes from trees and plants.


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RE: Squirrels and other pests

Anna
I respect your position and your right to express it.
(If something has to be killed, do it humanely.)
Nothing in nature is killed humanely. We have all seen the pictures of hundreds of seals being killed by schools of sharks. Nothing humane there. They are torn to pieces. I can think of no example where nature is humane.

You are correct. Man has caused many of the problems by destruction of habitat but this is caused by mans superior intelligence and longivity. Perhaps if nature were to control the population of man as it does other animals we would not have this situation. ( However I do not relish the thought of being dinner for some large animal)
In urban environments wild animals have no natural preditors to control their population. This is the main reason squirrels and pigeons have become such pests. In most urban environments it is against the law to kill these pests thus adding to the problem. I have " stung " many of my squirrels with a low power BB gun and it really has no effect as they come right back. The option of trapping and moving them is really not practical as I would have to trap at least a couple of hundred to have any effect. I have read where moving these " tame " squirrels is a death sentence to them anyhow. Now if there were something you could feed them to make them sterile I could go for that.

Donn
Prejudiced yes
Passionate yes
Misinformed I don't think so.

Ron


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RE: Squirrels and other pests

  • Posted by donn_ 7a, GSB, LI, NY (My Page) on
    Wed, Apr 5, 06 at 19:21

"Misinformed I don't think so."

Rather than resorting to unsupported hyperbole, I'll just provide examples of misinformation.

..cutting down forests to create acres and acres of cow-corn for cattle that produce huge amounts of methane harmful to the environment."

First of all, all deforestation is not in aid of cattle grazing. Much of it serves other purposes, such as urban sprawl and highway building. Don't forget that your country sells that timber on the Canadian and world market. Don't forget that they strip mining lands for the minerals under the trees.

Secondly, as has been recently reported, trees and plants could be supplying up to a third of the methane entering our atmosphere.

Methane findings (PDF file)

"Being in Canada, the annual seal-hunt is a hot topic right now, and for sure many have reflected on the fact that if the seal pups were not so "gosh-darn-cute" their slaughter might not have attracted the attention of so many celebrities and others. Some may be swayed by their "cuteness", but personally, it is not about appearances but the issue of death by torturous pain and brutality. We have all seen those pictures. (If something has to be killed, do it humanely.)"

Seal Hunt Myths

I can go further on this subject, in case you feel that the Canadian, American and Norwegian governments are lying, because I have friends in the Eastern maritimes who are deeply involved in the issue.

"But people who get downright gleeful when talking about shooting animals with pellet guns and such - tells me a lot about their view of the world."

I looked back at the original thread several times, and find absoultely no glee expressed, by me or anyone. If you think you have some insight into my "world view" from my statements in that thread, I submit that you are sadly mistaken.

All of that said, as Ron has expressed, you have a right to your opinions, Anna. What you don't have, is a right to preach them to others. If you attempt to judge me against your value positions, and insult me based on them, you had better be able to support your positions, because, believe me, I can support mine.


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RE: Squirrels and other pests

  • Posted by shimla 5 Upstate, NY (My Page) on
    Wed, Apr 5, 06 at 20:02

Oh boy! The testosterone is startin' to fly...

Here is a link that might be useful: what's not to love?


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RE: Squirrels and other pests

  • Posted by msjean Z6..NS...Canada (My Page) on
    Wed, Apr 5, 06 at 20:12

If it ever got to the point that I had to kill or maime an innocent creature that goes into my garden to feed or to do what it does naturally...I would give up gardening.

I love to be in my garden so that I can commune with nature and all of the creatures and critters that inhabit it. It is my way of being in spirit and feeling close to my higher power. Killing, poisoning or inflicting pain on another living creature is not very spiritual....IMHO.

I also love the hymmn that says
"I go to the garden alone
when the dew is still on the roses..
And the joy we share ..as we tarry there
None other hath ever known...
For He walks with me and he talks with me...

This is where I'm supposed to say to my Lord..Guess how many of your squirrels I bb gunned this morning ".

I believe in Karma and I believe that you reap what you sow.
Maybe this sounds "Preachy"...but it is what I believe.

Anna from Quebec.... You have a kind heart and a loving spirit and you you stood up for your beliefs.
I think you and I are very similiar and I would not want someone for a friend who shoots or maimes little animals because they may have made their garden a bit less perfect.

As for the Canadian Seal hunt...I HATE it...and so do all the people I know. It will be stopped soon because the demand in Canada for it to end is so high. It is barbaric and inhumane and a remnant from 500 years ago when people had no other way to feed or dress themselves.

This is my opinion on this sorry topic and I felt compelled to post ...and it has left me feeling sad because I used to love to come to this forum to talk about flowers and new life...not this distasful subject :(


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RE: Squirrels and other pests

HAhahahahaha... where did you find that? Good grief, that's the last thing I needed to see - glad I wasn't eating or drinking, or I would have choked! :o)


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RE: Squirrels and other pests

I'm sorry that this has become so personal...there are so many sides to this issue. I have always seen critters as "cute and fuzzy" - even as a child I planned someday to live in an old farmhouse with a perfectly semicircle mouse hole in each wall, and I would feed the little mice cheese, no traps in my house! I had notions of communing with nature to such an extent that I could live in the woods and communicate with the animals. Made it all the way to high school with the idea that I hated the human race and everything we had done to the planet, and I was never going to have children, and maybe I would just go off do some social study of gorillas or something, to prove what, I don't know. Fast forward... lots of reading, lots of pondering, lots of praying... The biggest difference I have gained in perspective is love and forgiveness. Negativity does not accomplish much. You are left without joy. I am only now discovering that "joy" is where it's at.
(This seems random and unrelated, but really nothing is unrelated. I was villifying humans in general. Finally figured out that I hated what people (especially in groups) do, not the individuals themselves!) I am regretting sounding like I was arguing earlier, because it's really not worth upsetting someone - human beings can be hurt emotionally as well as physically.
Human beings are also blessed/cursed with a feeling of responsibility. We want to do what is right, but we can't care about EVERYTHING. When you try, you lose touch with the reality around you, and with the people around you. You can only be who you are, where you are, and try to make a difference in your sphere of influence. Again, I'm sounding trite; not meaning to be. It's all "vanity and vexation". Really.

At the risk of being carted off to the funny farm, I will post this! I for one would love to discuss the topic of sharing/not sharing space with critters who see our gardens as their own personal salad bar! To Ron's original question, I don't know where you draw the line. What about introduced species? What about varroa mites, which are killing off our honeybees? Honeybees were introduced to North America, but without them we wouldn't have many fruits here. Everything is or becomes interconnected, and we end up making the call.


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RE: Squirrels and other pests

  • Posted by shimla 5 Upstate, NY (My Page) on
    Wed, Apr 5, 06 at 21:33

Thou shalt not eat my seedlings..

Here is a link that might be useful: WS'ing war


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RE: Shimla...

Shimla, you're killing me! I am moping around with a stuffy nose/cold, you are making me snort and that hurts! :o)


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RE: Squirrels and other pests

Shimla...these pictures have me in hysterics!!


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RE: Squirrels and people

  • Posted by shimla 5 Upstate, NY (My Page) on
    Wed, Apr 5, 06 at 22:02

I think that squirrels can be very entertaining in the yard.

While I'm a nature lover, I don't worship the squirrels as some do.

At times, they can be very pesty because they don't finish their nuts and I have acorns sprouting in my flower beds.

Regardless, I always left them alone until they started getting into the roof of my home. At that point, I decided to remove them from the yard.

Caging them in a have-a-heart trap was much easier than air lifting, and off they went.

They all found a nice, safe home at the nature preserve and lived happily ever after...


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RE: Squirrels and other pests

Shimla, that is too cute. What a great way to lighten up a mood.

I do not hunt but I do eat deer that has been hunted (squirell once to shhhhhhhh.)

While I say this I also love the few squirells in my yard. Probly cause their are only a few. But I also have small children. I have absolutly no problem with killing a black widow or a copperhead that has tried to make its home at mine.

And while that is the only reason I would kill an animal I do not feel it is my place to judge anyone else who has other reasons. There are many farmers who have no choice or they lose their livelyhoods. I also try to see the humor in some of the posts that I believe were made in more of a joking way then a mean way. I am sure that even I have said something along the lines of those things have to go. oh sorry thats moles.....thats another story.....

Well I dont post often and now fear that some will think me a horrible person for my lack of anger at the remarks made. But if I ended a friendship because someone had to kill an animal, either for food or to save his crops, I wouldnt have many friends. And they are some wonderful people.

Carey


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RE: RE:Squirrels and other pests

Now back to the dancing squirrels

carey

p.s. sorry for any typos


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RE: Squirrels and other pests

LOL...those pictures!
Well, I don't have an answer. I do have three cats and a dog who WILL chase and eat a squirrel (they also eat the birds, which conflicts me about having feeders in the yard, but it is the cycle of life).

I am actually not allowed to shoot any animal on my property. I found this out last year, when we had a racoon walk right up onto our porch. It was my second sighting of a racoon that year and the second sighting out of 4 years of living here...so I figured something was not right with the racoon.
Well, after trying to get a hold of Animal Control and the DEC for a good hour and not getting anything but ringing phones and answering machines, DH went out with a gun and shot it. By then, it was up a tree. Someone must've heard the shots (although, being in a rural area, shots are not uncommon...lots of turkey, duck, and deer hunting here), and called 911. DEC drives up to our house. Didn't know anything about my calls. I showed him the list of numbers I had written down, calling frantically to find out what to do about the possibly rabid raccoon. It was only because I had that scrap paper with my scribble on it that we didn't get ticketed. The DEC guy said that once the racoon was up the tree (which is in our yard, VERY close to our house--and a window the critter could have jumped into if he wanted to), we were performing an illegal act by shooting it.
Now granted, DH and I didn't WANT to shoot it. But we also didn't want anyone's animals in the area getting bit by a rabid racoon.

We asked the DEC guy if he wanted to take the racoon for testing. He just wanted to see it (I guess to make sure that's what we were shooting). Then he left.
Such concern. I can't stand it. DH and I had to go out and get a bag of lime to put into the hole where we buried it to keep any family animals from getting to it.

Why I told you this story, I don't know. I can't remember now...lol.


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RE: Squirrels and other pests

Donn said - "I have a rifle that cocks with a single pump, and is single shot. It's powerful enough to kill a raccoon...I also have a single shot pistol that pumps up with 5-10+ pumps, and provides more power with more pumps. 5 pumps will sting a critter, but not really damage it. 10+ pumps will...well, let's just say the squirrel won't bother you any more."

Ok - I agree and apologize, there is nothing at all gleeful in those remarks, they actually sound aggressive and indeed boastful of killing capacity.


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RE: Squirrels and other pests

Save the seals .... then who is going to step in and save the sealers?? I wish that a tiny portion of the energy spent lamenting the deaths of seals would be spent devising solutions to the sorry plight in which fishermen, sealers and others in Newfoundland find themselves. Why doesn't Sir Paul McCartney set up a job retraining program? He could afford it.

Brodie


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RE: Squirrels and other pests

  • Posted by donn_ 7a, GSB, LI, NY (My Page) on
    Thu, Apr 6, 06 at 11:43

"OK - I agree and apologize, there is nothing at all gleeful in those remarks, they actually sound aggressive and indeed boastful of killing capacity."

It must be wonderful to be sin-free, and have a plentiful supply of stones.


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RE: Squirrels and other pests

I am not sin-free, nor am I throwing stones - I just don't think details on the firearms one has in one's possession to control "vermin" (and how well they work) is something to be discussed on the WS forum - indeed I am surprised that thread wasn't moved to conversations immediately. Many folks have been previously chastised for not keeping on-topic - why did this thread remain? The topic is Winter sowing.


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RE: Squirrels and other pests

  • Posted by donn_ 7a, GSB, LI, NY (My Page) on
    Thu, Apr 6, 06 at 12:00

Here you go. File your complaint where it might do some good.

Here is a link that might be useful: Contact GW


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RE: Squirrels and other pests

A lot of posts on the On-Topic Discussions board roam away from the orginal post. Someone makes a comment about something that is slightly off topic from the orginal post and away it goes.
philmont_709n2s post was on topic expressing a problem with WS containers.
I attempted to move the off topic conversion here to keep the subject away from the main forum.
Anytime a large group of people are involved in conversation there are always differences of opinion. Some are passionate about their opinions and confrontations happen. It is human nature. What is not acceptable is personal attacks and unfortunately that is what has happened here. There is no right or wrong on either side. It is a matter of opinion.
Now kiss and make up.

Ron


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RE: Squirrels and other pests

  • Posted by shimla 5 Upstate, NY (My Page) on
    Thu, Apr 6, 06 at 13:13

Ahhh, kissy, kissy Ron


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RE: Squirrels and other pests

To see Shimla's post, cut and paste the following url to your browser:

http://members.tripod.com/scalisti/kissing.jpg

I tried to set it as a forum link but the results is the same deflection to the Tripod icon.


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RE: Squirrels and other pests

  • Posted by donn_ 7a, GSB, LI, NY (My Page) on
    Thu, Apr 6, 06 at 20:24

Tripod doesn't serve pics.


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RE: Squirrels and other pests

  • Posted by shimla 5 Upstate, NY (My Page) on
    Thu, Apr 6, 06 at 20:33

You guys can't see the pic? I'm getting it here and that's the right addy mud gave. Well, it's just two squirrels kissing each other and making up for fighting! I'm off to finish WSing my Toms...


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RE: Squirrels and other pests

I can see the pic...not sure why others can't.
Hmmm...not a good enough tecchy to find out neither. :-(


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RE: Squirrels and other pests

I could see it using Explorer, but not with Mozilla, which is my regular browser. Very cute! Actutally one might be saying to the other: "I know ya got some nuts in there - come on will ya - share some with me!"


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RE: Squirrels and other pests

Well, I couldn't see it before, was about to thank Anna because I'm using Firefox, too, but when I logged in to post, it appeared! Coincidence?
Anyway, awwwww, how cute!
:o)
Angel


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RE: Squirrels and other pests

..or it might be saying, "I love you, my little crocus-hijacker."
I found a crocus blooming in the middle of my lawn yesterday. I know I didn't put it there...I only have one squirrel that I've seen out here in the country that looks like the ones I used to have all around in the Rochester. It doesn't stick around long...we have too many animals around that like bunnies and other small furry animals (in the natural way). I demanded a particular wood pile be deconstructed last year because I couldn't stand finding another bunny with a half-life on my porch. I break down and sob like a little kid everytime. I know it's nature, but as I rhetorically ask my cats and dog, "Do you HAVE to BRING it to me???"


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RE: Squirrels and other pests

Oh, lblack61, I hate that! Years ago, my aunt had a cat with kittens, and she would hunt baby rabbits, but then I guess once she caught them, she was confused, because she would bring them home and try to nurse them with her babies! It would have been cute, but all but one were injured.

Spring before last, I was walking through tall grass at our previous house, and I accidentally stepped on a baby rabbit. Talk about sobbing. We took it to the vet, and tried to take care of it for a few days, he seemed injured, but somewhat okay, but he didn't make it. The vet said they are very fragile, can even break their own bones just running around and bumping into things. I still felt horrible.


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RE: Squirrels and other pests

As babies, they are fragile. As they get older SOME of their fragility is gone. Rabbits are 8% bone, the rest is skin and muscle. If they kick their back feet hard enough, they can break their leg/s. This is why when you hold them you hold their feet and bottom. They also have a "suicidal" defense mechanism in their throat. When they get EXTREMELY frightened or dying, they let out a scream. Then proceed to "break their neck". Instant death. I guess in a good way thats a good thing, that way they dont have to feel the pain of some of the maulings they endure.


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RE: Squirrels and other pests

Well that info makes me feel a little better. If they have to die, I'd rather it be quickly than slower. My dog regularly hunts rabbits. SHE doesn't leave any evidence like the cats do.
I'm told that once the rabbits are separated from their nest/mother, the mother WILL NOT take it back again if it has a human or other animal scent on it. I find that interesting. I'm learning a lot living in the country.


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RE: Squirrels and other pests

As for the mom not taking it back, i THINK thats within its first 2 weeks of life, being as tho they dont have their fur yet. Also I'm not sure if the domesticated ones differ from the wild ones. With my babies, I was able to hold them as soon as they were born.

And while we are speaking of 'pests', I seem to have a groundhog or 2 with brass balls.

They have decided to make under the shed their home. We have done EVERYthing you can possibly imagine. Put lattice around the bottom. Chewed. But boards and such around. Dug under. So along the one side of the shed, theres wood piled on top of another. With an old hose coiled up. I watched him today. Saw him waddling his fat butt around. He had the nerve to sit there, standing up slightly with front paws on hose, and stare at me while I was screaming at him to get out of here. When I went to step towards him, ( I was behind a fence) He did a nosedive into the middle of the hose. Same thing happened with the 2nd groundhog! When I moved the hose..HUGE HOLE under all the wood and stuff.

I dont wanna kill them, I just want them gone. Wildlife costs $260 give or take. And ammonia did nothing!


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