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squirrels eating trees?



 
 
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  #1  
Old 24-03-2004, 06:12 PM
nutso fasst
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Default squirrels eating trees?

We've got an overpopulation of fox squirrels in the neighborhood, with at
least five nests in our backyard alone. The squirrels have always gone after
our fruit, but in the last few years they have begun stripping entire
treesful before it fully ripens. We have walnut trees and I don't begrudge
them walnuts, but the loss of oranges, persimmons, pomegranates, plums and
apricots ****es me off. Now we have a new problem: they are stripping the
bark off elm and chinese silk trees and eating the new leaf shoots off the
apricots. Peaceful coexistence is ending. I'm getting a slingshot and
looking for squirrel recipes. But I wonder about this bark-eating behavior,
which I never noticed or heard of before. It's not like these guys are
starving--they're some of the plumpest squirrels I've ever seen. Is this
usual behavior?

nf


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  #2  
Old 24-03-2004, 06:34 PM
zxcvbob
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Default squirrels eating trees?

I gotta get me some trees like that...

Best regards,
Bob
  #3  
Old 24-03-2004, 09:02 PM
Mike LaMana
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Default squirrels eating trees?

The chewing is partly need for simple sugars at the end of the dormant
season; partly the marking of territory - but this latter is usually
accompanied by some sort of scent marking as well.

This is a very common occurrence with grey, red, and flying squirrels in the
Northeast US (IME).

Mike

--
Mike LaMana, MS
Heartwood Consulting Services, LLC
Toms River, NJ
www.HeartwoodConsulting.net


"nutso fasst" wrote in message
om...
We've got an overpopulation of fox squirrels in the neighborhood, with at
least five nests in our backyard alone. The squirrels have always gone

after
our fruit, but in the last few years they have begun stripping entire
treesful before it fully ripens. We have walnut trees and I don't begrudge
them walnuts, but the loss of oranges, persimmons, pomegranates, plums and
apricots ****es me off. Now we have a new problem: they are stripping the
bark off elm and chinese silk trees and eating the new leaf shoots off the
apricots. Peaceful coexistence is ending. I'm getting a slingshot and
looking for squirrel recipes. But I wonder about this bark-eating

behavior,
which I never noticed or heard of before. It's not like these guys are
starving--they're some of the plumpest squirrels I've ever seen. Is this
usual behavior?

nf




  #4  
Old 24-03-2004, 10:03 PM
Michelle
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default squirrels eating trees?

On Wed, 24 Mar 2004 18:03:29 GMT, "nutso fasst"
wrote:

We've got an overpopulation of fox squirrels in the neighborhood, with at
least five nests in our backyard alone. The squirrels have always gone after
our fruit, but in the last few years they have begun stripping entire
treesful before it fully ripens. We have walnut trees and I don't begrudge
them walnuts, but the loss of oranges, persimmons, pomegranates, plums and
apricots ****es me off. Now we have a new problem: they are stripping the
bark off elm and chinese silk trees and eating the new leaf shoots off the
apricots. Peaceful coexistence is ending. I'm getting a slingshot and
looking for squirrel recipes. But I wonder about this bark-eating behavior,
which I never noticed or heard of before. It's not like these guys are
starving--they're some of the plumpest squirrels I've ever seen. Is this
usual behavior?

nf

Seemes to me you need to get a falconers license and take up hawk
raising and flying as a hobbie very fun way to hunt pest rodents :-)


  #5  
Old 25-03-2004, 03:42 AM
Roy A. Fletcher
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default squirrels eating trees?

nutso fasst ) wrote:
with editing...
: We've got an overpopulation of fox squirrels in the neighborhood, with at
: least five nests in our backyard alone. The squirrels have always gone after
: our fruit, but in the last few years they have begun stripping entire
: treesful before it fully ripens. We have walnut trees and I don't begrudge
: them walnuts, but the loss of oranges, persimmons, pomegranates, plums and
: apricots ****es me off. Now we have a new problem: they are stripping the
: bark off elm and chinese silk trees and eating the new leaf shoots off the
: apricots. Peaceful coexistence is ending. I'm getting a slingshot and
: looking for squirrel recipes. But I wonder about this bark-eating behavior,
: which I never noticed or heard of before. It's not like these guys are
: starving--they're some of the plumpest squirrels I've ever seen. Is this
: usual behavior?

You could put those little pests up for sale.
English elm has invaded our natural landscapes and is rapidly
replacing snowberry, rose and oregon grape. It is even replacing
Scotch broom and gorse.
We would love to have some of those little critters to strip the bark
and slow down the spread of the elm.
And if they dig up the roots, that's a bonus.

Regards. RAF

  #6  
Old 25-03-2004, 03:42 PM
simy1
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Posts: n/a
Default squirrels eating trees?

"nutso fasst" wrote in message . com...
We've got an overpopulation of fox squirrels in the neighborhood, with at
least five nests in our backyard alone. The squirrels have always gone after
our fruit, but in the last few years they have begun stripping entire
treesful before it fully ripens. We have walnut trees and I don't begrudge
them walnuts, but the loss of oranges, persimmons, pomegranates, plums and
apricots ****es me off. Now we have a new problem: they are stripping the
bark off elm and chinese silk trees and eating the new leaf shoots off the
apricots. Peaceful coexistence is ending. I'm getting a slingshot and
looking for squirrel recipes. But I wonder about this bark-eating behavior,
which I never noticed or heard of before. It's not like these guys are
starving--they're some of the plumpest squirrels I've ever seen. Is this
usual behavior?

nf


That is normal behavior for a dense population of squirrels. Specially
in late winter, they have no other food. If their caches are raided,
or the winter was harsh, they will eat cambium. I too have very many
(thanks to a frontyard of oak and hickory trees, and a backyard of
maple and elm trees - all major food sources). At this time, they
definitely chew on the twigs of a weeping mulberry (silk tree) outside
my kitchen. In april, they raid my mushroom patch and eat the shiitake
(which are somewhat sweet). If I had your collection of trees, I would
try to eliminate them. They will not touch your fruit trees when the
elms are making seeds, or during walnut season, but they need to
survive in between. I think that if you had no walnuts or elms the
population would ultimately crash, or at least less squirrels would be
moving in as you catch them.
  #7  
Old 25-03-2004, 10:07 PM
Salty Thumb
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Posts: n/a
Default squirrels eating trees?

"nutso fasst" wrote in
om:

We've got an overpopulation of fox squirrels in the neighborhood, with
at least five nests in our backyard alone. The squirrels have always
gone after our fruit, but in the last few years they have begun
stripping entire treesful before it fully ripens. We have walnut trees
and I don't begrudge them walnuts, but the loss of oranges,
persimmons, pomegranates, plums and apricots ****es me off. Now we
have a new problem: they are stripping the bark off elm and chinese
silk trees and eating the new leaf shoots off the apricots. Peaceful
coexistence is ending. I'm getting a slingshot and looking for
squirrel recipes. But I wonder about this bark-eating behavior, which
I never noticed or heard of before. It's not like these guys are
starving--they're some of the plumpest squirrels I've ever seen. Is
this usual behavior?

nf



Theory 1:
Rodents have teeth that are continuely growing. Perhaps they just need
something to gnaw on to avoid getting bucktoothed or having their teeth
grow through their brains, especially after plumping up on the softer
tasty fruits. The apricot shoots are just for garnish or have an
analgesic effect.

Theory 2:
Squirrels have discovered that if a tree is stressed it will put more
energy into nut production and are intentionally stressing the tree by
stripping the bark.

Theory 3:
The squirrels have a serious eating disorder and you should call my
Animal Eating Disorder hotline at 1-900-555-NUTS for a consulation. Per
minute charges may apply.
  #8  
Old 26-03-2004, 12:32 AM
paghat
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Posts: n/a
Default squirrels eating trees?

In article , Salty Thumb
wrote:

"nutso fasst" wrote in
om:

We've got an overpopulation of fox squirrels in the neighborhood, with
at least five nests in our backyard alone. The squirrels have always
gone after our fruit, but in the last few years they have begun
stripping entire treesful before it fully ripens. We have walnut trees
and I don't begrudge them walnuts, but the loss of oranges,
persimmons, pomegranates, plums and apricots ****es me off. Now we
have a new problem: they are stripping the bark off elm and chinese
silk trees and eating the new leaf shoots off the apricots. Peaceful
coexistence is ending. I'm getting a slingshot and looking for
squirrel recipes. But I wonder about this bark-eating behavior, which
I never noticed or heard of before. It's not like these guys are
starving--they're some of the plumpest squirrels I've ever seen. Is
this usual behavior?

nf



Theory 1:
Rodents have teeth that are continuely growing. Perhaps they just need
something to gnaw on to avoid getting bucktoothed or having their teeth
grow through their brains, especially after plumping up on the softer
tasty fruits. The apricot shoots are just for garnish or have an
analgesic effect.

Theory 2:
Squirrels have discovered that if a tree is stressed it will put more
energy into nut production and are intentionally stressing the tree by
stripping the bark.

Theory 3:
The squirrels have a serious eating disorder and you should call my
Animal Eating Disorder hotline at 1-900-555-NUTS for a consulation. Per
minute charges may apply.


Squirrels are highly territorial & as a rule will not permit any other
squirrel, beyond a mate, to live in their territory. Juveniles are kicked
out of the parents' territory almost as soon as they are weaned. They
sometimes build multiple dreys so I'm not convinced nutsofasst really has
them crowded into one yard like that, but if in fact there was formerly so
much food in the area that "territories" shrank & overlapped, then they
have probably used up their food resources during winter, & it's too early
in spring for new food resources to have developed. Squirrels will eat
buds early in spring if food they actually like is insufficient, & hungry
squirrels really can strip an entire tree of buds (which is also partly
also a neurotic behavior when they are crowded & territories undecided
among the squirrels themselves, & a squirrel can become frightened to hunt
more broadly & risk getting beaten up by the next squirrel).

Sometimes when something happens to a large shared food resource -- like
when the city comes through an extended area & tops all the walnut trees
or whatever so that they stop producing food, or developers clear-cut a
previously wooded area -- the squirrels will be forced into gardens they
would otherwise rarely have visited -- & in this case none of the
squirrels will be sure who's territory it is for some while. There's got
to be SOME reason for their rigid territories becoming smaller & less
rigid, because it's extremely rare that squirrels get crowded except in
parks or university campuses where the excess of free hand-outs of tator
chips & Subway sandwich whitebread overcomes their territoriality & they
all get fat & lazy instead of violently patrolling their personal acreage.


In normal conditions squirrels patrol a few acres & will seriouslky injure
or even KILL other squirrels if they don't leave fast enough from a
patrolled territory. In overcrowded conditions one often sees squirrels
with skinned tails or other startling injuries, caused by territorially;
the established squirrel always wins unless elderly, & invading
adolescents live horrible lives until they can establish a territory for
themselves. When this mean-sounding but essential behavior weakens,
squirrels can cause more damage than would otherwise be the case. The
overpopulation is generally very short-lived because weaker squirrels will
have to leave town or be so perpetually harrassed they die from the sheer
inability to rest anywhere & feed calmly.

Possibly feeding them cheap peanuts or corn will make them lose interest
in tree buds, until broader food resources are available & they stop
harvesting buds. But feeding them too much weakens their will to chase
other squirrels out of their territory. Tree buds aren't a favorite but a
back-up food, with some exceptions since squirrels are so intelligent &
complicated that they have very individualistic behaviors, & the
occasional squirrel will become seriously convinced buds are best. If they
can't be stopped from eating buds even when peanuts or corn are set out
for them, or when their better food resources return, they may inescapably
need to be trapped or killed, but first talk to animal control or the game
department about legalities and options.

-paghat the ratgirl

--
"Of what are you afraid, my child?" inquired the kindly teacher.
"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
-from Peter Newell's "Wild Flowers"
See the Garden of Paghat the Ratgirl: http://www.paghat.com/
  #9  
Old 26-03-2004, 01:32 AM
nutso fasst
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default squirrels eating trees?


"Michelle" wrote in message
...
Seemes to me you need to get a falconers license and take up hawk
raising and flying as a hobbie very fun way to hunt pest rodents :-)


That does sound like fun, but also more time-consuming than I can handle
right now. I've seen a couple of hawks cruising above the neighborhood, but
I've never seen them nab a squirrel. Maybe lounging cats are an easier kill.

Speaking of cats, there used to be a lot more cats around. Our next door
neighbor had a pride of feral cats living on the roof of their house, and we
had cats with free reign of the back yard. We took in a couple of 'rescued'
dogs in '94 who didn't get along with cats. Then the neighbors sold out and
left. I think that's when the problems began. The dogs are quite worthless
as squirrel intimidators.


  #10  
Old 26-03-2004, 02:02 AM
nutso fasst
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Default squirrels eating trees?


"Roy A. Fletcher" wrote in message
...
nutso fasst ) wrote:
English elm has invaded our natural landscapes and is rapidly
replacing snowberry, rose and oregon grape. It is even replacing
Scotch broom and gorse.
We would love to have some of those little critters to strip the bark
and slow down the spread of the elm.


These are Chinese elm; we call them 'weed trees' because they pop up all
over and grow so fast. It wasn't until last year that I noticed major bark
stripping; this year a couple of young (40' or so) trees have the top 50% of
their branches stripped bare. That didn't bother me. But this week I
discovered an old chinese silk tree had the top of a major low branch
stripped bare!


  #11  
Old 26-03-2004, 02:12 AM
nutso fasst
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default squirrels eating trees?


"Roy A. Fletcher" wrote in message
...
nutso fasst ) wrote:
English elm has invaded our natural landscapes and is rapidly
replacing snowberry, rose and oregon grape. It is even replacing
Scotch broom and gorse.
We would love to have some of those little critters to strip the bark
and slow down the spread of the elm.


These are Chinese elm; we call them 'weed trees' because they pop up all
over and grow so fast. It wasn't until last year that I noticed major bark
stripping; this year a couple of young (40' or so) trees have the top 50% of
their branches stripped bare. That didn't bother me. But this week I
discovered an old chinese silk tree had the top of a major low branch
stripped bare!


  #12  
Old 26-03-2004, 05:29 AM
nutso fasst
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default squirrels eating trees?


"paghat" wrote in message
news
Possibly feeding them cheap peanuts or corn will make them lose interest
in tree buds, until broader food resources are available & they stop
harvesting buds.

Whaaa?! These guys are eating my food, and you want me to feed them more?
NUTS to that!

In case the variety of fruits don't give a clue, we're in Southern
California, where we may get a few nights of below-freezing temps a year.
This is not hard times for rodents.

Ten years ago we had so many persimmons I gave away bagsful to a local
church, and sent excess pomegranates to relatives in the midwest. In 2001 we
had none, then managed to salvage a few unripe ones in '02 and '03. The same
is true of all the other fruits, and of planted bulbs as well. While the
squirrels were chewing bark, they were also stripping our orange trees. Just
about any time I went out back there'd be a squirrel chewing out the inside
of an orange. Sometimes a squirrel would be doing this while the orange was
on the tree, other times I would find one with an orange it had nipped off,
slurping away on the ground a few yards away.

I used to see squirrels fighting and chasing each other, but not lately.
They all look pretty chubby to me.

I don't know how many there actually are. I know there have been at least
three romping around in our yard (80 x 300') at one time, but have no idea
whether all the nests are occupied.

As noted in another reply, we used to have many cats around, and the feral
ones were very comfortable in trees. The neighborhood has been changing--our
yard now has many more trees than before and no cats, neighboring properties
are being bought and developed with large homes and landscaped yards.
Everywhere are dogs; cat territories are restricted. My dogs have killed
rats and baby muskrats, but never a squirrel.

Given the amount of bark being stripped, and the fact that the practice has
now gone to an old tree, I definitely think these rodents are either
neurotic or have some unusual excess dietary need (worms?). I think I'll
follow your advice and contact the local animal control before having one
for dinner.

I am much edified about squirrel behavior and thank everyone who responded
to my request for insight.

nf


  #13  
Old 26-03-2004, 05:29 AM
nutso fasst
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default squirrels eating trees?


"paghat" wrote in message
news
Possibly feeding them cheap peanuts or corn will make them lose interest
in tree buds, until broader food resources are available & they stop
harvesting buds.

Whaaa?! These guys are eating my food, and you want me to feed them more?
NUTS to that!

In case the variety of fruits don't give a clue, we're in Southern
California, where we may get a few nights of below-freezing temps a year.
This is not hard times for rodents.

Ten years ago we had so many persimmons I gave away bagsful to a local
church, and sent excess pomegranates to relatives in the midwest. In 2001 we
had none, then managed to salvage a few unripe ones in '02 and '03. The same
is true of all the other fruits, and of planted bulbs as well. While the
squirrels were chewing bark, they were also stripping our orange trees. Just
about any time I went out back there'd be a squirrel chewing out the inside
of an orange. Sometimes a squirrel would be doing this while the orange was
on the tree, other times I would find one with an orange it had nipped off,
slurping away on the ground a few yards away.

I used to see squirrels fighting and chasing each other, but not lately.
They all look pretty chubby to me.

I don't know how many there actually are. I know there have been at least
three romping around in our yard (80 x 300') at one time, but have no idea
whether all the nests are occupied.

As noted in another reply, we used to have many cats around, and the feral
ones were very comfortable in trees. The neighborhood has been changing--our
yard now has many more trees than before and no cats, neighboring properties
are being bought and developed with large homes and landscaped yards.
Everywhere are dogs; cat territories are restricted. My dogs have killed
rats and baby muskrats, but never a squirrel.

Given the amount of bark being stripped, and the fact that the practice has
now gone to an old tree, I definitely think these rodents are either
neurotic or have some unusual excess dietary need (worms?). I think I'll
follow your advice and contact the local animal control before having one
for dinner.

I am much edified about squirrel behavior and thank everyone who responded
to my request for insight.

nf


  #14  
Old 26-03-2004, 05:59 AM
nutso fasst
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default squirrels eating trees?


"paghat" wrote in message
news
Possibly feeding them cheap peanuts or corn will make them lose interest
in tree buds, until broader food resources are available & they stop
harvesting buds.

Whaaa?! These guys are eating my food, and you want me to feed them more?
NUTS to that!

In case the variety of fruits don't give a clue, we're in Southern
California, where we may get a few nights of below-freezing temps a year.
This is not hard times for rodents.

Ten years ago we had so many persimmons I gave away bagsful to a local
church, and sent excess pomegranates to relatives in the midwest. In 2001 we
had none, then managed to salvage a few unripe ones in '02 and '03. The same
is true of all the other fruits, and of planted bulbs as well. While the
squirrels were chewing bark, they were also stripping our orange trees. Just
about any time I went out back there'd be a squirrel chewing out the inside
of an orange. Sometimes a squirrel would be doing this while the orange was
on the tree, other times I would find one with an orange it had nipped off,
slurping away on the ground a few yards away.

I used to see squirrels fighting and chasing each other, but not lately.
They all look pretty chubby to me.

I don't know how many there actually are. I know there have been at least
three romping around in our yard (80 x 300') at one time, but have no idea
whether all the nests are occupied.

As noted in another reply, we used to have many cats around, and the feral
ones were very comfortable in trees. The neighborhood has been changing--our
yard now has many more trees than before and no cats, neighboring properties
are being bought and developed with large homes and landscaped yards.
Everywhere are dogs; cat territories are restricted. My dogs have killed
rats and baby muskrats, but never a squirrel.

Given the amount of bark being stripped, and the fact that the practice has
now gone to an old tree, I definitely think these rodents are either
neurotic or have some unusual excess dietary need (worms?). I think I'll
follow your advice and contact the local animal control before having one
for dinner.

I am much edified about squirrel behavior and thank everyone who responded
to my request for insight.

nf


  #15  
Old 26-03-2004, 07:12 AM
nutso fasst
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default squirrels eating trees?

I wrote:
Everywhere are dogs; cat territories are restricted. My dogs have killed
rats and baby muskrats...


meant baby possums, not muskrats, sorry. We've also got skunks and racoons
roaming at night, but (fortunately in the case of skunks) the dogs have
never killed those, either.


 




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