Squirrels are pretty much everywhere and usually not much of a problem. Although few are seen in downtown areas because of a lack of food supply, they are found in abundance from urban areas to the countryside. Just about anywhere there are trees, there are squirrels.
“City” squirrels are mostly Fox squirrels. So called because of their red color and bush tails resembling a fox. They raid any bird feeders with an insatiable appetite. Their roadways are back yard fence tops and city utility wires.
One of the fox squirrel’s favorite pastime is darting into traffic. Once in the street, they stop, leaving the driver wondering if they will continue across or dart back from their point of origin. Some of these become “street pancakes”, much to the chagrin of the driver. The squirrel might invade a home’s attic to nest, however, they rarely do.
In the rolling hills of the country is the Gray Squirrel. A bit smaller and scrawnier than its city cousin, this squirrel is destructive. We have several bird feeders on our property with only one that the squirrels are unable to invade. There are oak trees (with acorns) and hickory trees (with hickory nuts) in abundance. Although there is ample bird feed and nuts available, these squirrels will try to eat anything.
Just yesterday they completely destroyed two pots of Coleus on the front deck. They are busily harvesting the water hyacinth bulbs from the outdoor ponds. Any plant I put in the garden that has moist, pulpy leaves or stems will be dug up and eaten. They harvest any beans or peas left on the vines in the garden.
Flowers in the flower beds that are supposed to “re-seed” themselves will not come back unless I gather the seed pods and replant the seeds in a few weeks. The little rascals will get every seed.
Gourd Bird Houses
One year, I very diligently chose seed, planted, watered and harvested some gourds to make hanging bird houses. I hung the gourds in the garden shed to dry over the winter. During the winter, I went up to check the gourds (about eight of them). Every gourd was lying on the floor. The gray squirrels had eaten the necks out of each of them to get the seeds, and left the stems of the gourds hanging from the strings.
One of these days, I will take the rifle and…….
In times of anger, I have threatened to sit on the deck with the rifle and pick them off, one at a time. I have yet to do that. Although I ate lots of fried squirrel, squirrel gravy (the best gravy there is), and squirrel dumplings growing up, I do not choose to eat squirrel today (much less clean them). I will not kill animals just for the sake of killing. So…..I just live with them. I figure this was their land before we moved here, so they have “grandfathered-in” rights. I must be diligent and stay ahead of their harvesting.
I am OK with that … for now.