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It’s funny how squirrels seem like this fun loving creature that wouldn’t harm a fly. You would be surprised if you found out what and how a squirrel causes problems to many things our environment. Squirrels are really just a pesky rodent that everyone loves to watch, but doesn’t want them to be anywhere near their gardens or homes etc. Basically either let them damage your belongings and cost you money, take the time and money to control them and save you money in the long run.
Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) is a common name for many rodents belonging to the same family as the woodchuck, chipmunk, and also the prairie dog. The tree and ground squirrels include about 230 species and the so-called flying squirrels include about 43 species. Squirrels vary in length from 14-21 inches and in weight from 3/4-1 1/2 pounds; the fox squirrel is generally larger, having a length from 19-29 inches and a weight from l-3 pounds. Except for the ground squirrels, the animals live mainly in trees, and their food is largely vegetable (especially nuts, seeds, and buds), although they occasionally eat insects. Their habit of storing seeds helps in the dispersion of trees and other plant forms. In colder climates, ground squirrels commonly hibernate; tree squirrels do not. In general, these two species live most of their lives in the vicinity of a particular tree and seldom travel farther than 200 yards (183 m) from home in any one season.
In any patch of woods or forest, squirrels live in loose colonies. All the members of one colony recognize each other and are familiar with all the nest sites and food sources in the area. A squirrel’s home is a leafy nest located in an opening or fork of a tree. Cavities suitable for squirrel nests occur most often in older trees, particularly white oaks, elms, sycamores and soft maples. These are preferred home sites, especially for winter and for nurseries, because they provide good protection from weather and enemies. Leaf nests are usually built in the tops of large trees and consist of a rough twig framework with a bulky pile of leaves with layer upon layer. The squirrel hollows out a nest cavity in the center of the leaves.
Squirrels cause so many problems to so many things. To start off, squirrels love playing with bird feeders. Squirrels that can’t actually climb onto a feeder will launch themselves at it, apparently attempting to smack the darn thing hard enough to dislodge some seeds. The battered burglars then happily scarf up the scattered food and frolic back to repeat the whole process. Another complaint about squirrels monopolizing bird feeders is that they scare the birds away. You won’t often find birds sharing a feeder with a squirrel, because squirrels are no more inclined to share feeders with each other, you might well wind up with a single squirrel at every bird feeder you own.
Squirrels are loaded with parasites, inside and out. Infestations of fleas, which happily make the transition from squirrel to human hosts. Some that are common are outbreaks of lice and mites. Encephalitis and typhus are among the transmittable diseases squirrels carry. It has been known in some cases the fleas that are along for the ride to carry sylvatic plague. On a lone positive note, although squirrels have been known to carry rabies, they seldom escape the attack of any rabid beast long enough to pass it along.
With the entire different squirrel species there are in the world, it is difficult to tell when they are active and when they are not active. Most squirrel species in the United States are active in the daylight hours during the spring and early fall. However, there are a three species of squirrels; the Eastern gray squirrel, Western gray squirrel, and the Arizona gray squirrel that are only active for 2 hours after sunrise 2 to 5 hours prior to sundown. There are also 3 other species of squirrels; the Red and Douglas squirrels, and the tasseled eared squirrel that are only active late morning through early afternoon, and that happens to be all year round. Finally the flying squirrel which I mainly active at night all year round as well. Except for very cold spells for Southern Flying Squirrels.
One of the crazy things is about squirrels is they are pretty smart when it comes to controlling them. There are so many different ways to control squirrels and hopefully get them to stop damaging our environment to badly. One major way of controlling squirrels is by Lethal Control. There are four methods of lethal control; control them by poison, trapping, fumigation, or shooting. Although each method can produce good results, each has its limits. Poison with a treated grain is brought to be the most common and effective method used on farms and ranches. Two of the most common acute poisons for ground squirrels are strychnine alkaloid and zinc phosphide. These poisons are called acute poisons because a lethal dose is available in a single meal. Strychnine causes death by entering the blood stream and interfering with the central nervous system, resulting in respiratory failure. While Zinc phosphide baits produce phosphine gas (PH3) in the stomach which results in death due to asphyxia (or suffocation). Ground squirrels can also be killed in their burrow systems by one of several toxic or suffocating gases, such as carbon monoxide. Burrow fumigation has a different advantage over toxicants and trapping because there is no other behavioral trait other than that squirrels seek the cover of their burrows when disturbed.
Squirrels are a unique rodent that can be fun to watch at one moment and at the other moment you want to get rid of these pesky rodents. They are very smart when it comes to cheating death, so be sure and succeed in whatever way you use to control them. Otherwise don’t waste your time.