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Squirrels: loudmouths of the woods

HUNTING — Do squirrels find other victims to torment and fray their nerves when hunters are not in the woods trying to sneak up on white-tailed deer?

Seemingly suicidal Spokane squirrels

I have to say, throwing yourself in front of a slow-moving bicycle is a pretty poor strategy for ending it all.

Fortunately, it did not work in either of two instances today on my ride home. I missed them.

Maybe things will look brighter to those two rodents in the morning.

But perhaps I have it all wrong. Maybe those squirrels were simply playing, in the words of a great “Far Side” cartoon, “Rusty's in the club!”

Given the chance, momma squirrel takes care of her own

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WILDLIFE WATCHING — Red squirrels provide year-round entertainment for Tina and Judge Wynecoop of Colbert.  But when they started affecting the gas mileage of their vehicle, something had to be done.

“Our Toyota 4 Runner did not have much get up and go on its 12 mile trip to town,” Tina said, indicating how they began troubleshooting one of their more unusual wildlife encounters.

“Judge checked under the hood and found a pine cone.  When he opened the air filter case he discovered a family of five baby red squirrels in a nest composed of the air filter, the insulation from an old coat and grasses.”

They drove a short way to a Toyota dealer to purchase and install a new filter. The old filter was removed with the baby squirrels snug in their nest.

“The check engine light remained on as we returned home, where the mom was waiting,” Tina recalled. “She checked out her babies; she bumped up against our legs; she sniffed the air filter contents, examined the spot in the Toyota where she thought she had left her babies, and then carried her children off, one by one, and put them in a safe place under the garage rafters.

“A short while later she moved them a very far distance to our barn and made an obscene gesture at the 4 Runner.”

Wynecoop's photos tell the story. 

  

Video: Squirrel a master problem solver

WILDLIFE — This video has been around for awhile, but it's worth posting again to illustrate how marvelously adaptive wildlife can be. 

Flying squirrel invades New Jersey E.R.

RAHWAY, N.J. (AP) — Firefighters were needed stat after a flying squirrel went nuts in a New Jersey hospital's emergency room.

The squirrel kept launching itself from an 8-foot-high wall-mounted lamp into a glass wall after becoming trapped in a trauma room at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in Rahway Tuesday night.

Fire Department spokesman Capt. Ted Padavano told The Star-Ledger of Newark (http://bit.ly/vxBiL0 ) it would climb up on a light and would jump off and glide.

A pair of firefighters threw a blanket over the squirrel and released it into a wooded area outside the hospital.

Padavano believes there may be a nest in the building because it's the second time in two weeks that a flying squirrel got in the ER.

Squirrel blamed for flag thefts in Ohio

In a Wednesday, photo, a squirrel makes off with a flag from the Toledo Police Memorial in Toledo, Ohio. (AP Photo/Toledo Blade via Toledo Police Dept, Lt. James Brown) 

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — Police in Ohio have discovered that small flags being swiped from a police memorial were being squirreled away.

 Two Toledo officers watched on Wednesday as a squirrel quickly snatched a flag off its wooden dowel and ran off with it. Lt. James Brown told The Blade newspaper the bushy-tailed critter was too quick to catch.

Later, police noticed a squirrel hanging out on a tree branch outside a third-floor window at their headquarters building. They also spotted a squirrel's nest made of leaves and branches — and at least two of the little flags.

Brown says at least three of the flags have gone missing in recent days.

He's careful to point out he can't prove all were the work of the same squirrel.

Lampert drills down on the varmint issue

Some candidates, particularly novices, have an annoying habit of announcing a vague stand for or against something when they kick off their campaign, and never refining, clarifying or elucidating it later.
Not so with City Council Candidate Barbara Lampert. She came out four-square against varmints when she began her campaign. Her latest campaign literature, a 3.5 inch by 8.5 inch door insert, brings the issue into sharp focus. Eliminate skunks. Lessen the squirrel population. Eradicate crows. Decrease marmots.
It is possible that Lampert, a perennial candidate who has run for something or another for the last 15 years, knows not to make a rookie mistake.
It’s unlikely, however, she’ll get much support from those who like their furry or feathery friends. Sure, skunks can be smelly, squirrels annoying and crows obnoxious. But marmots? They’re cute.
  

Mayor Hopeful Wants Squirrel Bounty

Mayoral candidate Barbara Lampert is lucky Spokane's famous yellow-bellied marmots don't vote. At the first significant mayoral debate of the election season, Lampert listed controlling Spokane's varmint population among her priorities. “Varmints bring disease,” Lampert said Tuesday at the forum sponsored by the nonprofit group Sustainable Resources INW. “Let's create a city plan to control pests and rodents.” Lampert said in an interview on Wednesday that the city needs to reduce the population of squirrels, crows, marmots, skunks and potentially other rodents and animals/Jonathan Brunt, SR. More here.

Question: What type of four-legged varmint is the biggest pest in your community?

Lampert suggests placing bounties on squirrels

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Barbara Lampert’s top priorities

Mayoral candidate Barbara Lampert is lucky Spokane's famous yellow-bellied marmots don't vote.

At the first significant mayoral debate of the election season, Lampert listed controlling Spokane's varmint population among her priorities.

“Varmints bring disease,” Lampert said Tuesday at the forum sponsored by the nonprofit group Sustainable Resources INW. “Let's create a city plan to control pests and rodents.”

Lampert said in an interview on Wednesday that the city needs to reduce the population of squirrels, crows, marmots, skunks and potentially other rodents and animals.

“Children are being dive-bombed by crows. Children are being bitten by squirrels,” she said. “I don't think it's right in civilization for pests to have the upper hand.”

Renegade squirrel stalks Vermont area

BENNINGTON, Vt. (AP) — A Vermont neighborhood is being stalked by a renegade gray squirrel.

Several people in Bennington say they've been attacked by a squirrel over the last few weeks.

Kevin McDonald tells the Bennington Banner he was shoveling snow when the squirrel jumped onto him. He says he threw the animal off, but it twice jumped back onto him. A game warden says there have been other reports, too.

One woman is being treated for exposure to rabies, but Vermont Public Health Veterinarian Robert Johnson says there's never been a case of a squirrel passing rabies to a human.

Johnson says it's possible the squirrel was raised as a pet and lost its fear of humans. He says the squirrel might “go ballistic” when it encounters people it doesn't recognize.

Rodents of unusual size

It’s a quiet morning on South Perry so the blog was captivated by this story in today’s paper: warming adds to marmots’ mealtime.

And that got the blog thinking about urban wildlife up here: one reader pointed out that the squirrels seem unusually brazen this year - what do you think? Do you feed squirrels? The blog occasionally does and is not afraid to admit it. Haven’t spotted any marmots on Perry Street, have you?

Last year it seemed like every single skunk from the rest of the city had moved to South Perry - the stink was incredible - every night - what’s it like this year?

The blog has already seen a couple of coyotes - rather big sized, bad guys - have you seen any?

And what’s your racoon policy? Cute cuddly critters – or pests from hell?

Do Squirrels Have Right Of Way, Too?

Colleague Becky Kramer witnessed a near miss this morning at 5th & Lakeside, while driving to work. Seems a squirrel was using the cross walk to get across the street. But the driver of a passing vehicle either didn’t see the squirrel or didn’t care. His vehicle missed the squirrel by inches, causing Becky to wince and wonder whether animals, like humans, have the right of way in crosswalks.

Question: When did you last accidentally hit an animal on a road?

Spokane blowing up squirrels…

This has nothing whatsoever to do with politics, and yet I’m quite confident it will be my best-read post of several today:

Plagued by ground squirrels at Spokane’s Finch Arboretum, the city’s parks and recreation folks have strapped on their Rodenator Pro, a device that pumps propane and air into a tunnel, then triggers an explosion that apparently knocks rodents dead and sends dirt flying.

But this video really says it all, particularly starting at about the 90-second mark when Ed’s heartfelt passion for anti-rodent combat really comes to the fore.

NOTE: The permalink URL for this post is automatically generated. Yes, it’s been pointed out to me already. Stop.

 

“Squirrelly” Dining: Cruel or Charitable?

British farmers’ markets, butcher shops, village pubs, and elegant restaurants have become more creative with their cuisine.  Along with the traditional roast beef and chicken, squirrel has graced the menu.  Don’t get Great Britain wrong, though.  This is a proactive approach to maintaining the balance between two squirrel species.

Like the fight between the Trojans and the Spartans in ancient history, the gray squirrels and the red squirrels are competing for superiority and dominance (not to mention survival).  The squirrel species’ ”Trojan War” is alive and competitive all throughout Britain.

Because of the treasured and beloved tales of Beatrix Potter, the red squirrels are cherished by Britain more than the gray squirrels are.  The gray squirrels have the abilities to invade the red squirrels’ habitats and to pass on a deadly virus (parapox) to the reds that does not affect the grays.

Gamekeepers, hunters, and trappers are glad to help in any way posseble.  In fact, they encourage people to eat the squirrel meat so that it is not wasted.

“Save Our Squirrels” is campaign that began in 2006 to protect the red squirrels from their North American cousins.  By eating gray squirrels, the Britains hope to control their squirrel population and help the environment out, too.

The rallying motto for “Save Our Squirrels” goes, “Save a red, eat a gray!”

Do you agree with eating squirrels, even if it appears to be for an environmental cause?