Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Squirrelly Neighbor News #1

Texas—A beloved albino squirrel has gone to gather nuts from that big tree in the sky, leaving thousands of University of North Texas students to mourn its passing.
In its two short years, the unnamed pure white creature with pink eyes brought luck to students who spotted it before exams, said graduate student T.J. Zambrano, 25, president of UNT’s Albino Squirrel Preservation Society. But misfortune frowned on the squirrel Aug. 21 when a hawk swooped down on it.
“The poor little guy stuck out like a sore thumb,” Zambrano said.
Students reminisced at a service near the Student Union Building, the squirrel’s favorite scampering spot, university officials said.
“Some students saw the hawk and tried to shoo it away, but it was too late,” Zambrano said. “Some animal control people took the body away.
“The squirrel wasn’t shy, and people constantly fed him. He had a good life.”
This is the second albino squirrel that has lived on campus, he said. The first, Thelonius, inspired the founding of the preservation society in 2002 and vanished in 2003.
“We can only hope Mother Nature will bring us another albino squirrel,” Zambrano said.

Furball Facts
If a squirrel has taken up residence in your attic or crawl space, the only practical way to deal with the issue is sell your house and not mention it to the new buyers.
A squirrel has sweaty feet. The sweat glands of a tree squirrel are located on their feet, between the foot pads and on their paws between the toes. When hot or excited a squirrel will change socks twice a day.
The male tree squirrel takes twice as long, as the female, to groom itself. They are so vane they will not show up at the bird feeder until every whisker is in place.
The most common type of squirrel bite is a result of feeding a squirrel by hand. Never hold the food between your fingers. Always balance food on your head and let the squirrel forage for it on his own. The worse thing that can happen is you will lose an ear.


It’s almost winter and squirrels are looking for a place to spend the winter. And it’s a whole lot warmer in a $250,000.00 house than up a tree.
Squirrels are the challenge of bird-feeding. But their incisor-edged impact ranges beyond sunflower seeds. The tree-climbing rodents chew into homes, storage buildings, insulation and electrical wires. Want to save energy—let a squirrel spend the winter in your attic. By spring, nothing will turn on or light up. It will reduce your electric bill to zero.
Squirrels can take real advantage of nut and fruit trees. At least deer are limited by how high they can reach. A furball can climb all the way to the top and to the very end of the branches.
The rule of thumb for relocation is a half-mile or more. Some squirrels have been moved around so much they have frequent flier miles.
George Seros of Marietta, Georgia decided he didn’t want to share any pecans with his squirrels. He live trapped several on his acreage and moved them all the same day. He was taking a weekend trip to the mountains around Helen, Georgia so he loaded his motorhome with his merry band of furballs. Before he even made it to the city limits the squirrels had escaped from the cage and it became obvious they did not like traveling. As it turned out one of his captives was a flying squirrel. They were bouncing off the motorhome walls like a set of live billiard balls on a bumper table.
George discovered the jail-break when a gray squirrel ran up his leg, across his face and exited his shoulder. That’s also when George put his motorhome in the median—sideways. He opened his driver door and three squirrels followed him out. The others were too confused. It took George as long to coax the rest of his squirrelly neighbors out of the motorhome as it did to explain the whole mess to the Georgia State trooper.

Attack Squirrels
First is was alligators attacking people in Florida and now a rash of squirrel attacks in Silcon Valley, California. Kids and parents are freaking out in Mountain View, as the squirrels in Cuesta Park go on the attack! Over the last three months, three people have been bitten by the aggressive rodents, which are becoming desperate for food after the installation of anti-squirrel trash cans in the park.
Jennifer Packard’s 4-year-old son was their latest victim. As she unwrapped a muffin during a picnic last week, a brown tree squirrel pounced on her son, Andrew, biting and scratching as he ran screaming through the park, then hanging on as he rolled desperately in the grass.
Andrew is undergoing rabies shots, and now tells everyone the squirrel was trying to eat him.

Squirrel Vandals
After many U.S. flags marking Veterans’ graves were disappearing from a cemetery in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, groundskeepers suspected vandals.
What they discovered were that the thieves were tiny and covered with fur. Groundskeepers thought kids were stealing them... but while one of the groundskeepers was mowing the grass, he noticed something red and blue high in the tree—it was a giant squirrel nest made of ripped and tattered flags. He thinks the squirrels conducted their operation at night or very early in the morning when no one was around.

Suicide squirrel in opera-hating kamikaze bike spoke mangle
HELSINKI (DNN)—A squirrel scampered into the bicycle wheel of an unlucky Finnish opera singer, causing him to fall, knock himself out and break his nose just ahead of the world premiere of a new opera.
Esa Ruuttunen was pedaling his way to the Helsinki Opera House last month when the squirrel ran into his spokes.
The singer ended up concussed and in a local hospital, rather than at his rehearsals for the Finnish opera Kaarmeen hetki (Hour of the Serpent), which opens on September 15.
“He is not yet singing in rehearsals, but thinks he will be able to perform at the world premiere,” Finnish National Opera spokeswoman Heidi Almi told Reuters.
The squirrel died in the accident.
I’m sure if the squirrel could sing loud and strong he would have gotten a bit more than a one sentence mention in this story.
The squirrel - apparently not an opera fan—ran headlong at the spokes. Alarmed, the bicycling bass baritone hit the skids.

Squirrel Get Bad Rap

Squirrels can often rap you around their little paws and take you for everything you’re worth. Never trust a squirrel with a lot of bling!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Step 1:
Bird Feeder Placement—Squirrels will typically jump up to ten feet to get to a bird feeder. When placing your bird feeder, try to keep it at least 10 feet away from fences, trees or anything else a squirrel could jump from. Placement is the first consideration, and is often overlooked when considering squirrel proofing!
Step 2:
Pole Mounted Feeders—Make sure your bird feeder is five feet above the ground. Use a Squirrel Baffle on the pole and under the feeder. There are many types to choose from including dome types, torpedo types and even some that "wrap around" the poles, which is especially important when using a "shepherd type" pole with a permanent hooked end. Pole mounted domes may also help thwart other predators such as cats from getting to the birds. If you use a baffle, the "floating" styles that tip on the pole seem to work best.
Step 3:
Hanging Feeders—Hang your feeder 10 feet away from trees and fences and 5 feet off the ground. Use a hanging type squirrel baffle above the feeder to make it more difficult for the squirrel to get to the feeder. When hanging, consider your ability to fill and clean your feeder on a regular basis.
Step 4:
Squirrel Proof Bird Feeders Designs—There are now many new bird feeders made to deter squirrels. They can be broken down into several basics types: 1)Cage Type—They come with a metal cage around the feeder 2)Spring Loaded Type—These either slide down or close down by reacting to the squirrel’s weight on the feeding perches 3)Motorized Type—Some begin to spin to throw the squirrel off, which again react to a squirrel’s weight 4)Roller Type—These roll over when a squirrel get on the feeder to get the squirrel off 5)Collapsible Perch Type—Some of these can even be adjusted to deter several large bags such as Grackles. Choose the best squirrel resistant bird feeder that fits your budget. One good feeder will outlast many less expensive ones!
Step 5:
If you can’t beat ‘em…..…Join ‘em! Sometimes it is better to feed squirrels in a different area of your yard, and feed them something they prefer to eat. Commercially made squirrel feeders are available, and squirrels love cob corn and pumpkin seed, and many specially made squirrel feeds are available including suet cakes, squirrel foods, compressed corn logs, and others. Pinwheel type feeders and bouncing feeders are available to make watching the squirrels eat an enjoyable and entertaining experience, instead of a dreaded nightmare!

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Nuts About Squirrels--Squirrel Magnet

Is Your House A Squirrel Magnet? Learn Professional Squirrel-Prevention Techniques
A professional squirrel-removal technician tells us how to deal with furballs:

As a professional squirrel-removal technician, I evict squirrels from hundreds of homes each year. This allows me to see first hand how squirrels manage to enter homes/attics and also why they seek out certain types of houses. If you’ve had squirrels in the attic before there is probably a very specific reason as to why they chose your home. This article will illustrate why squirrels are attracted to certain homes and give you tips on removing the conditions that make your home attractive to these furry little rodents!
Are You Attracting Squirrels?
Are you unknowingly attracting squirrels to your backyard? You could be if you have any of the following.
Bird Feeders - Bird feeders will often attract squirrels to your yard. The more squirrels in your yard and near your home the more likely it is that they will damage your home. Squirrels are attracted to bird feeders due to the seeds that fall to the ground below. Use specialized feeders that don’t allow the seed to fall to the ground or place feeders far away from the house.
Trash Barrels – A little-known fact is that urban squirrels eat trash. Squirrels are opportunistic feeders and will eat just about anything. Un-secured garbage cans allow squirrels to dine on your trash whenever they choose. Keep the lids on your trashcans tight and use bungee cords to prevent the lids from being knocked off.
Gutters – The gutters on your home act as a catch basin for leaves and nuts. Homes that are surrounded by oak trees often have gutters full of acorns. This creates a fine-dining scenario for squirrels and will certainly lure them to your home. Clean your gutters twice a year to prevent this from happening.
The number one factor that makes a house prone to squirrel problems is open entry. The following conditions make it very easy for squirrels to access your roof.
Overhanging Tree Limbs – Squirrels can jump as far as 15 feet from a branch to land on your roof. Trim long branches back to prevent this from happening. Keep in mind that even the branches that are well above your roof should be trimmed.
Bushes – Large bushes that grow around the perimeter of one-story homes allow squirrels to climb the bushes and jump onto the roof. Keep these bushes trimmed to a height that is four feet below the roofline. This will prevent squirrels from jumping from the tops of the bushes onto your roof.
Preventive Maintenance
In order for a squirrel to chew its way into your attic it needs a vulnerable area or a weak spot to start with. These are usually slightly rotted areas on the corners of the house or older attic vents on the ends of your home. To prevent squirrels from using these areas you should replace rotted wood and screen your attic vents.
Squirrels cause hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage each year to homes. Usually, if you remove the features that make your home attractive to these intelligent and determined critters, you’ll find they quickly become less bothersome. Follow the professional tips listed above and you should be able to prevent a squirrel infestation in your home and attic!

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Nuts About Squirrels--The Flying Kind

Bears, raccoons, coyotes, wild turkeys … it’s common in the mountains of Southeastern U.S. to eventually spy one of these creatures in your yard.
But for Cassandra DeJong, nothing beats the visits of her beloved flying squirrels.
"My darling sugar gliders (technically, flying squirrels) come every evening," she said. "They eat sunflower seeds from a flat tray I have. They let me come up and take their picture. I even got to scratch one on the back."
Flying squirrels aren’t an uncommon sight if one ventures out at night and looks closely.
"We have two species native to this area," said Bob Fay, animal curator at the WNC Nature Center in Asheville, N.C. "The Southern flying squirrel is most common in Asheville, but as you go to higher elevations, you’ll find Northern flying squirrels, which are protected."
While DeJong calls the flying squirrels "sugar gliders," they are in fact, two separate animals with some key differences. Her squirrels, Fay said, are the Southern variety.
The biggest distinction is how they reproduce and give birth. Flying squirrels are placental mammals, and sugar gliders are marsupials, like kangaroos, Fay said.
It doesn’t matter to DeJong, who’s fallen in love with the graceful squirrels she at first thought were leaves swirling to the ground.
"These guys are about the size of a chipmunk," she said. "They have big nocturnal eyes. They are so cute. I wish I could get one to sit up on my shoulder."
DeJong said she thinks the Southern flying squirrels are even cuter than the domesticated sugar gliders indigenous to Australia.
"Some people consider them pests. Can you believe it?"
Fay said that yes, pests they can be. They especially like to live in attics and can cause lots of damage.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Nuts About Squirrels--European Squirrel Fight

Celebrities have sharpened their pencils to "scribble a squirrel" in aid of a Welsh conservation project.
Bryn Terfel, Aled Jones, Neil Kinnock and guitarist Phil Campbell from rock band Motorhead are among those who have contributed signed drawings.
The event, organised by Anglesey's Red Squirrel project, hopes to further raise the public's awareness of the fight to save the species.
All the sketches and doodles will be auctioned on the internet in May.
Sportsmen, celebrities, TV stars and politicians have contributed autographed sketches of red squirrels to the 'scribble a squirrel' event.
Funds raised at the May auction will go a range of red squirrel conservation projects in Wales.
'Public awareness'
Becky Moss, co-ordinator of the Friends of the Anglesey Red Squirrels said she hoped the event would raise public awareness.
"Public support for red squirrels is fantastic, and through the scribble a squirrel campaign we hope that the red squirrel plight is further highlighted," she added.

Wildlife expert Iolo Williams did this drawing
Red squirrel expert Dr Craig Shuttleworth of Menter Môn said the Anglesey project was having some success.
He added: "Through our efforts, red squirrels are now a common sight in Pentraeth forest and they have been successfully reintroduced into Newborough forest."
This year the group are reintroducing red squirrels into the coastal woodlands bordering the Menai Strait, with the hope they will eventually colonise the whole of the island.
"There are currently fewer than 100 grey squirrels remaining on Anglesey and once these animals are removed we can firmly establish the island as a national red squirrel sanctuary," Dr Shuttleworth added.