Squirrel is destroying cukes

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I have a pesky squirrel that figured out how to get into my protected garden. The garden has a chicken wire fence with two electric wires (one 6" and the other 15" from the ground). He jumps over the wires and digs up the young cucumber sprouts, then manages to leave the garden without getting shocked. I have a .22 air rifle (legal here in the city limits although it might be hard to get an accurate shot at a distance), but last night I set a Hav-A-Hart trap baited with peanut butter graham cracker. The squirrel is not touching the beets, carrots, radishes, tomatoes, peppers or zucchini. He makes daily 8 AM rounds. Any other ideas?
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Plant some extra plants for the squirrel to eat, put seed and nuts out for him to eat.
Kindness works better than trying to kill.
'enry VIII
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wrote:

And maybe a sign to show him where his planted items start / finish . Thats bull hockey, a squirrel or any other wild animal don;t know whats planted for him or you and for the most poart they do maore damage just tasteing and digging than they are worth. I have a permit to knock off sqiurrels out of season as this area is unindated with them, and this week alone I have killed more than 2 dozen. They have clipped off all new young plants, dug up seeds, raid my chicken nests and in general destroy everything they come into contact with one way or another. One or two may be nice, but more than that and its problems for lots of folks. Visit my website: http://www.frugalmachinist.com Opinions expressed are those of my wifes, I had no input whatsoever. Remove "nospam" from email addy.
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"'enry VIII" wrote in message >

And I guarantee he'll bring all his relatives and friends to the next party. We're overrun with them.
Dora

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Squirrels are highly territorial. They patrol territories in mated pairs, & will kill even their own offspring if at adolescence their young do not leave to establish their own territory elsewhere. Multiples of squirrel couples & single adolescents will occasionally share an overlapping area of extreme resources (a section of beech forest, a part of an orchard, a university campus with hundreds of students providing lunchtime hand-outs) but the average squirrel population in any normal five-acre area of woodland or neighborhood will in general never exceed two for any length of time. It's rare that any of them are so destructive they cannot be enjoyed. The exceptions may require permanent removal, though as soon as the territory is vacated, an adolescent in search of his or her own territory will move in, & eventually have a mate with whom to patrol & harrass interloping squirrels.
-paghat the ratgirl
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"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
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"paghat" wrote in message > "limey" wrote:

have just over an acre of land, surrounded by quite a few oak trees. The squirrel population is so prolific that (as I've mentioned before) a couple of summers ago we moved 64 squirrels trapped in live boxes - and some returned from several miles away. It's just as bad right now and they all seem to live in harmony. They eat anything/everything they can get their little paws on. Yes, I could enjoy and be kind to one squirrel, but not a whole darned army following a scorched-earth policy in my yard. May I send them to you for safekeeping? <BG>
Dora
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snipped-for-privacy@netscape.net (paghat) wrote:
-snip-

The most common squirrel in my part of the world [upstate NY] is the Eastern Grey. These buggers are gregarious if the food supply will support them.
A good description of these critters is at http://spot.colorado.edu/~halloran/sq_grey.html
When I bought this house the neighbors were an elderly couple who bought huge bags of old bread to feed the squirrels. Their feeder looked like something out of a Hitchcock movie -- 50-60 squirrels is no exaggeration.
Fox & reds are less common here [NY], and they don't like to share with the greys.
If I planted an entire orchard of nuts and did nothing to decrease the squirrel population, I would get to see a lot of squirrels, but would never have any nuts. As it is I enjoy some of my harvest, and frequent dinners of 'Squirrel spaghetti' -- the sauce does wonders for tenderizing their otherwise rather tough meat.
Jim
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wrote:

This article states that the grey squirrel is non-territorial. And I'm 99% sure I have a grey-squirrel issue. My current plan is to trap and relocate them.

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In many [most?] states that is illegal. Check with your local authority & you might get a permit to catch & kill them, but it isn't likely they'll let you give your problem to someone else.
Jim
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snipped-for-privacy@email.com wrote:

Trap & release is often very cruel. With trap-&-release, it often happens that the same pair of squirrels is trapped repeatedly, & the trapper thinks they relocated a dozen squrirels when it was always the same two. They can return to their territory from ten miles away with great ease (a mouse from three miles, a rat from five miles). They have no choice if released in taken territories, & if for some reason they cannot get back to their territory, they don't adapt well, but usually go a little mad.
That madness is an important side-issue on trap & release. Squirrels that cannot make it back to their territories may end up in second-growth forest areas or recent housing developments lacking stable squirrel populations, & these will be the half-crazy unhappy squirrels that strip bark, dig bulbs, eat garden veggies as would rabbits (but for the water; cukes & tomatos are not good food for them). A stable squirrel population rarely causes this kind of damage. A study overseen by Jan C. Taylor, done of migrant or released grey squirrels in Worpleson England, discovered this unfortunate side-effect of human intervention with moved squirrels & destabilized squirrel populations (these were North American greys released in the UK, with many sorry effects).
-paghat the ratgirl loves squirrels
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wrote:
<snip>

I already checked last year. I've already moved over 20 squirrels to a remote wooded area, 12 miles away. Killing squirrels is legal too, but I would not do that unless I had plans to float them in a pot with onions. You don't need a hunting/fishing license to trap or kill squirrels on private property here in Tennessee.
Why killing a deer on your own property is illegal (except during the hunting season)--I don't understand but I know several neighbors that use bow-and-arrow to do it anyway any time of year.
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As they can return easily from ten miles, I bet they can return less certainly but some will from 12 miles. The studies that show the misery of life for those who can't get back suggests that killing them oughtright might be kinder; I'm vegetarian myself but not against the idea of meat-eaters putting squirrels that have honestly been a nuisance in their cookpots.
I remember all the rabbit I ate when my Yakama Indian great-grampa still lived, & we ate 'em fried, boiled, smoked, baked, or dried. There are occasional times I want to taste my great-grandma's fried rabbit again, but vegetarianism keeps me from pursuing that bit of nostalgia. I could be tempted by a good cook probably. Squirrel is probably a lot tougher to chew.
-paghat
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"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
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The articlt cited simultaneously states that each Grey squirrel's territory is 5 hectares (within a 40 hectare forest of overlapping territories), which is a great deal larger than my memory had recalled. Five hectares is over ten thousand acres! Pretty damned big piece of territory to be required by a non-territorial animal.
An "overpopulation" of grey squirrels would be nine per hectare, still not a great many squirrels.
But of N.A. squirrel species, Greys are the most tolerant of each other -- in a resource-rich environment their territories will shrink dramatically. In a more natural woodland environment however each squirrel would patrol five thousand acres of which a core of a thousand acres is inviolate to other squirrels; the rest of their acreage will overlap peaceably with other territories, as could not happen with a red squirrel population or with our local douglas squirrel which beat the living crap out of interlopers.
Territoriality being defined in degree of aggression & willingness to maim or kill rivals to defend a territory, Grey Squirrels are let off the hook. They ARE territorial enough to displace all other species of squirrels from the expanding range of the Greys, but they do this without physically attacking other squirrels; other species, being more aggressive, literally worry & fret thesmelves out of house & home by being constantly willing to fight something bigger that will neither budge nor fight back. But even without attacking other species or each other TOO often, greys still require & protect a territory within the larger number of overlapping territories, & this area will be a few city blocks if inner city or near parks or orchards, but a whopping two to ten thousand acres in a natural forest area.
-paghat the ratgirl
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"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
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snipped-for-privacy@netscape.net (paghat) wrote: -snip-

I don't know whether your hectares or your acres are different-- but in US measure 1 Hectare=2.47 acres.
According to that page the 40 hectare forest is where they are 'most often found'. There isn't a 40 hectare forest within 10 miles of me-- but I'll bet there are thousands of squirrels. In the US they are becoming as common [and more troublesome] as pigeons and rats.

-snip-
I don't see that on that page-- but that comes out to less than 3/acre which I can definitely vouch for being in error. My neighbor & I share an acre & we often have 3 active *families* living on our properties. The three trees that they populate form a triangle with no side longer than 50 feet. [and they are joined by others whenever my neighbor or I set out feed for the birds]
But beyond that-
Reread the article-- It says; "Grey squirrels are non-territorial. They have large overlapping home ranges which average 5 hectares in size. . ."
A 'home range' is not a territory. [this might be our sometimes uncommon language giving us trouble here] Territory=cross the line & I attack. Range='I'll cover 5 hectares to find food. That 5 hectares might be overlapped by 50 other greys, and that's ok with me as long as we all have plenty to eat'.
This points out both problems for the original poster.
1. The non-territorial nature of the greys makes his property fair game for an unlimited number of grey squirrels. 2. Those grey squirrels can be some distance away and still fit his property into their range. [The max range mentioned is 20 hectares. 20 hectares is about 50 acres- so all the squirrels in 50 acres could come to his house for lunch. ]
Squirrel stew & spaghetti sauce is quite tasty.
Jim
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Squirrel.....a rat with a furry tail and social acceptance Visit my website: http://www.frugalmachinist.com Opinions expressed are those of my wifes, I had no input whatsoever. Remove "nospam" from email addy.
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

It has been suggested by many people with pet rats that EVERYone would love these sweet beasties if we could get them squirrel toupees for their tails.
-paggers
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snipped-for-privacy@email.com wrote:

I'm constantly confused by metrics, sorry; I had it right in my first post, but looked up the metrics at the last minute yesterday & read 2.471 acres as having a comma (& thought to myself, oh my god for years I thought they only needed a few acres each).

Actually "territory" & "home range" & "home territory" are frequently used interchangeably, but territoriality is often defined as a level of agression in willingness to even kill to protect one's territory/home range, & greys are vastly less apt to kill one another, though males have done so (or skinned each others' tales permananetly bald) during mating seasons. Authors who do distinguish between a shared home range always acknowledge a smaller personal territory at the core of these overlapping home ranges.
If a male fails to keep other males out of his mate's territory, she will become promiscuous, & that makes her usual partner fighting mad. Female greys become territorial while lactating; they become radical loners & will not permit even the nearest most familiar male (with whom she practically lives during two estrus periods each year) to come anywhere near her home range territory; we've all seen these bonded couples chasing one another, & if one gets run over or otherwise killed, the survivor grieves & calls to the mate for weeks or months. Both males & females will defend areas adjacent to their primary dreys or a central den within their home range. These are all territorial behaviors which restrict the number of greys that can live peacefully within a larger series of overlapping but nevertheless distinct territories. When kept as pets, mature squirrels become threatening toward visitors who are perceived as territorial interlopers.
Your definitions are useful in a specific article that desired to make such distinctions for specific purposes, but could not be imposed on all other authors. For instance, studies of "territorial marking" (with scent gland & urine) is a manifestation of grey squirrel terroriality even if not backed up with anything extremely aggressive; hence Grey Squirrels are most adamant about marking territory, defining routes from tree to tree even through areas where ranges overlap, & other squirrels (especially the males) encountering these marked routes, know to mark their own routes elsewhere, so that overlapping territories are less likely to result in open conflict. Grey squirrels following their own scent-trails through the trees will make a sudden stop to investigate any "interuption" from a rival scent, but then usually continue on their route, unlike a douglas who would follow after & harrass the interloper.
Many authors distinguish between these generally territorial behaviors restricted to mating season or rearing-den defense or marking behavior or non-familial interlopers, & "true territoriality" which is more vigorous & hostile toward other members of their own species, hence "Home ranges can overlap and there is no evidence that of true territoriality (Don 1983) although core areas are sometimes defended (Kenward 1985)." [Barbara Bellens- Picon, study presented in November 2002 at New York State Wildlife Conference, & available at <http://www.squirrelsanctuary.org/sciurus_caronlinensis.htm ] In otherwords the mere capacity to permit territories to overlap is non-territoriality, yet each squirrel nevertheless maintains a territory by means of a whole panoply of territorial behaviors which restrict populations & population movement. Thus even such radically social animals as prairie dogs exhibit a wide range of territorial behaviors.
When greys are observed as "non territorial" this is about their capacity for accomodation lacking in other species, but they remain territorial about their marked trails, rival male visitors during courtship seasons, non-familial relocated squirrels, or any fellow greys whatsoever while raising young. Their willingness to share rich food resources sets them apart from "true" territoriality, & this is probably related to their not being food horders in the manner of reds -- reds must defend vigorously large food resources (their caches & also the trees from which they glean for staches, without which they die in winter), but greys hide food in dispersed manners & often never go back to retrieve what they've hidden (or planted) & so they cannot be robbed the way greys rob reds into starvation, & are not at risk of winter starvation because they'll resort to eating anything even distantly edible in a pinch.
Here are some random quotes on grey squirrel territorial behaviors:
Bellarmine University student-conducted study: "The greatest number of squirrels were found around Bellarmine Dorms which had the greatest source of both manmade food and greatest density of nut producing trees that we observed. Next was Seneca Park which had several nut producing trees and other food sources. However the density of the trees was less then that of the Dorm site causing less area for the squirrels to nest in. The Beargrass site was the highest density of trees but many of them were not nut producing, causing territory size to be fairly large. Territory seems to be relational to amount of food and the density of the trees." cas.bellarmine.edu/tietjen/PPT/Ecology/squirrel.ppt
"Related individuals may defend a territory. Home ranges are generally larger in the summer. Home range sizes are negatively correlated with squirrel density, meaning the larger the territory, the fewer eastern grey squirrels live there. Females nest alone when pregnant and lactating, during these times females are especially aggressive and are avoided by others." From University of Michigan: <http://www.biokids.umich.edu/critters/information/Sciurus_carolinensis.html That quote is interesting because it shows that overlapping territories belong to RELATED individuals; studies of migrating or trapped-&-released greys show them to experience extreme misery because they are not permitted to settle within the overlapping ranges of settled (& related) squirrels.
Virginia Gewin citing L. Wauters et al, in Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 2002: "When greys' home territory overlaps reds', reds recoup only two-thirds of their nut caches and subsequently lose weight during the winter." <http://www.nature.com/nsu/020204/020204-5.html
A mere amateur observation, but anyone who has squirrels in their neighborhood will recognize this behavior, which perfectly describes grey squirrel behavior in the immediate territory surrounding nesting dens & major dreys: "The male grey squirrel in particular is intensely territorial, and having grown up in Norfolk, Virginia (where it often seemed as if we were living in our house only by the kind permission of the local squirrel population), I have not only seen male squirrels attack and fight with one another literally until one of them was killed, but I have also seen squirrels attack and chase cats and even large dogs." <http://flagspot.net/flags/cz-ra-se.html

5 hectares of forest supports 1 to 8 grey squirrels if one counts temporarily present adolescents & neighbor squirrels in overlapping pockets; the adolescents will remain into adulthood only if food resources make their parents too fat & lazy to shove them out. The number 50 is so rare that it is an anomally, though it certainly has happened, it is not normal, & a cause for the anomally is always obvious -- such as RECENT loss of habitat putting horrific pressures on remaining habitat,or EXTREMELY rich food resources or hand-outs over a period of years. Such abnormal squirrel populations are soon disease-ridden eventually resulting in sudden die-off.
Numbers are never hard & fast, but here's a realistic generality according to the Alabama Game and Fish Department: "During years of gray squirrel abundance, ideal habitat may support one squirrel per acre during winter, the least favorable season. Fall populations may be somewhat higher." <http://www.pfmt.org/wildlife/somethings/gray_squirrel.htm (Fall is whenthe most adolescents are still hanging around without territories of their own.) Or this: "one gray squirrel per acre of woodland is a good density and that three per acre is excellent and only occurs on prime habitat." <www.pgc.state.pa.us/pgc/lib/pgc/wildlife/ notes/pdf/squirrels.pdf> (This article also points out the high squirrel population of squirrels in areas where they are semi-tame, like college campuses, never occurs in the wild.)
The overlapping nature of territories sets the grey apart from all other squirrels who will at least yell at each with chirps & snorts as warnings in circumstances that greys aren't phased by. But there is always an inviolate center even to the grey's territory, & this turns out to be as big as the red's territory. A red will defend very aggressively one or two hectares; a grey will range through 5 hectares but protect only 1 hectare, a male in attempting to cordon off a female lest she become promiscuous, a female while nursing young to protect food resources for the sake of her offspring.

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On Mon, 31 May 2004 10:55:05 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@netscape.net (paghat) wrote:

If I didn't feed the little buggers roasted peanuts, I'd probably have a peanut forest in my backyard. What irritates me is that the little ingrates seem to prefer digging in newly-turned soil, i.e. where I've planted something.
I get a charge out of watching them in my backyard (and so do my indoor cats). They usually appear one at a time, but sometimes 4 come by at once. Occasionally there is a bit of a skirmish, but no serious problems since I usually toss plenty of peanuts for all.
Generally they are so fast that I can't keep track of who is chasing who and what happens to the loser, but a while ago I saw a gray squirrel chase a black squirrel up the tree in a spiral, then down again. After that, they all got along fine feasting on the peanuts, so I'm not sure what the chasing was about.
Sue(tm) Lead me not into temptation... I can find it myself!
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With as many grey squirrels as I have it woulld be hard for them to be territorial, unless each claimed a tree as their sole territory. I also have a mix of Fox squirrels with the greys as well, so they do get along for the most part. I basically declared war on the greys, and since the Fox is in much lower numbers as compared to the grey, I do not eliminate them, as they do not seem to create as much damage as the greys do. Visit my website: http://www.frugalmachinist.com Opinions expressed are those of my wifes, I had no input whatsoever. Remove "nospam" from email addy.
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Oops.. sorry.. OUR squirrels are highly territorial. They chase one another incessantly if one wants to move into their territory.
Lots of squirrels here, and some of them do tolerate one another, but I think those are offspring from earlier in the year, later in the year. They have 2 batches of babies here too.
I know the city folks -as in city government- who tell people they can't kill the squirrels or trap them .. also said they are territorial, so doesn't matter *here* what you do, more will always move in .. no matter how many you can manage to kill within the confines of your property.. there will always be about 15 that will try to move into the dead/gone one's territory.
I think squirrels are cute, but I still hate 'em now as far as sharing my piece of the world with them. Wish they could be repelled or somehow stopped from coming into the yard, but short of illegal fencing the property, like up all sides and with a cover..with tiny mesh, ain't going to get rid of them out of my yard.
Good luck to y'all with those "non-territorial" ones, but I know I'd like to shoot anyone bringing a squirrel into MY area if I was living outside town and someone got the bright idea of letting some squirrels loose out where I lived.. should I managed to move out of town far enough to be squirrel free.. so planted some nut trees.. oh my .. someone bringing squirrels out there.. I'd figure hangin' would be too good for 'em! .. and I'm only .. <slightly> kidding.
Janice

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