First Squirrel of the season

garyz6ohioApril 6, 2014

Yep, caught my first squirrel of the season. I started on a squirrel vendetta two years ago when I got tired of them tearing up my lawn and uprooting hostas and knocking over pots' or digging in the larger pots. It got to be a major problem so with the help of a live catch trap (And the permission of the local game warden) I've been re-locating the destructive little varmints that I affectionately call "fuzzy-tailed, tree climbing rats."

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Brandys_garden(6)

Squirrels here aren't so bad. I actually consider them a help. They eat the acorns from the tree that fall and they dig up any slugs or bugs that may harm the hostas. They've never uprooted any of mine. They've only been a help.... Even if they do leave a mess. But I have nothing against them. I have a blue jay who has decided he likes my garden this year. Hoping he finds a nice lady blue jay and they nest here.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 8:38PM
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garyz6ohio

You're lucky! I live in a small town yet over the past two years I've trapped and re-located 200 plus fox squirrels. My neighbors are saving a ton on bird feed as the squirrels aren't eating near as much now. I have acorn trees and black walnut seedlings popping up all through my gardens from them hiding their winter food and I don't have a walnut or mature oak tree within in two blocks of my place.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 8:51PM
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don_in_colorado

I consider myself lucky as well. Haven't ever had gardening problems from squirrels, and they're just everywhere here. (Like most suburbs, I suppose).

Good hunting, Gary!

Don B.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 8:54PM
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hosta_freak(z6 NC)

Squirrels here are harmless. They are here all year,and all they do is try to get at my bird feeders,but they can't,as mine are squirrel-proof. Phil

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 9:42PM
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bkay2000(8a TX)

Just shoot 'em. It's kinder. Most animals that are relocated die. They cannot adapt to to a new environment with different rules and sources of food. You can usually get away with a BB gun in the city. If you can shoot, you can kill one with a BB.

We are predators and they are traditionally a prey animal. They are out of hand, as they don't have any predators except automobiles.

Oops, this sounds kind of harsh. But, we're having the same problems with two other species - rabbits and deer.

bk

This post was edited by bkay2000 on Sun, Apr 6, 14 at 21:59

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 9:56PM
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garyz6ohio

bk, We're not allowed to even fire a bb gun in town here. I prefer to give them at least a chance of survival. My brother owns a woods and now has a fair amount of squirrels in it as well as a private nature preserve not far from here. I probably could try some kind of repellant, but if trapping keeps them under control, I'll probably stick with that. Hostas aren't up yet around here, but it won't be long. Don, Phil, maybe I'll trap a pair for each of you and UPS them out to you. Then I can be sure they're not coming back?

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 10:09PM
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Moccasin(z9aMobileAL)

I'm surprised that Bragu hasn't weighed in on this one already!

Well, Gary, just advertise in the Squirrel Gazette for a free vacation to North Carolina or Colorado and you'll have plenty of takers.

I don't kill any of the ones around here...they are prey critters and I have one feeder acting like a sacrificial altar of squirrel blood across the cover every day or so. The hawks mostly, or the cats hiding under our car. When there is no body, I know it was a raptor.

One of my bird feeders is a Yankee Flipper, which I enjoyed watching for a while. But now DH has it mounted so the squirrels cannot try to eat from it, and the birds, who probably saw what happened to the squirrels, are rather nervous about eating from it.

I use either ground cayenne or crushed red peppers sprinkled on my soft potted hosta, which show a lot of soft soil. Refresh it after rain and/or it rots.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 10:26PM
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don_in_colorado

Sure, Gary. The hawks will thank you, more than likely. : )

Don B.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 10:27PM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b

Go get em, bkay!

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 10:40PM
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Brandys_garden(6)

OK, first of all, whoever said "most relocated animals die so it's kinder to shoot them" You don't know what you're talking about. The vet office I work at does a lot of relocations with wild animals they've helped. They put monitors on them and they actually have a very high success rate. What you said is just not right, that might be "justification" for shooting an animal you might see as a nuisance but it is not correct. Trust me on this and look it up. The statistics show that most relocations are very successful and reasons it may not be may not have anything to do with the new environment. Animals are living beings and they are vulnerable to illnesses and accidents. Plus hunters and traps, etc. But for the most part, a new area, as long as you are not moving it across the country, is very successful. So the OP is handling it correctly.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 12:42AM
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luuk(9b)

Dear bkay, you know that I'm totally vegan, so as you can imagine I disagree with you, I think speciesism it is unfair and can't lead to a solution. All species deserve a chance to live once they are born, so I am reluctant to kill an animal, I would do only if can really pose a threat to my life, ...certainly not for my hostas

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 5:31AM
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bragu_DSM 5

okay ... you could 'relocate' it to the crock pot ...

taste's like chicken.

feel better?

it's like this little town not far from here. Problem with feral cats. They ran an article about ... what happens here stays here" about the cats. Interesting fact, however, the per capita ownership of crock pots spiked in the region ...

write for a tree rat gumbo recipe ... it's in there

_~

dave ... aka chef bragu

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 8:25AM
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bernd ny zone5

I tried to catch rabbits, but they must have gone into hibernation in my area. Last year we had 10 squirrels, they have a 2-7 acre home range. Now we have only one. Hopefully less pips get eaten.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 8:35AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

there is a difference between sharing your space in suburbia... where they can do all types of rodent like damage..

compared to our more rural friends.. who have space to share ..

vermin are vermin.. and rodents are vermin.. and just because your rat has a big fuzzy tail.. does not mean this is some disney movie and all the rodents are our friends ...

ken

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 10:06AM
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bkay2000(8a TX)

My next door neighbor feeds anything that breathes. She has three squirrel feeders plus several bird feeders. The squirrels are so fat that they waddle. She also feeds feral cats. The cats poop in my landscape box and the squirrels dig in my pots and turn them over. They turned over my Cathedral Windows so many times this winter that it didn't come back. They aggravate Cleo and she chases them through the hosta pots. I've just about figured out the paths, so the casualtys are a lot fewer.

That said, I pretty much ignore them. My neighbor really enjoys them. She has few things she can still do, so those she can still do are important.

Here, any discharge of any firearm is prohibited in the city limits.My thought was that BB guns are fairly quiet and its not likely to be noticed. Actually, I like squirrel stew.

bk

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 10:47AM
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josephines123 z5 ON Canada

Bkay, your heart is as big as your next door neighbour's...your acceptance with an injected sense of humour is wonderful. Anyone who paves the way through her potted plants for the inevitable chases of dog and squirrels/cats is a saint!, not to mention a wise gardener. I cannot help but admire that kind of an attitude. :-)

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 11:17AM
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Moccasin(z9aMobileAL)

Not sure what they taste like, but in a couple of trips years ago to Choctaw County Alabama, about 110 miles north of Mobile, the meal consisted of fried squirrel including the heads, which they loved to suck the brains....no kidding....and I just couldn't go there. But also a pot of collards with possum cooked in them, and the grease from the possum was all over the top of the pot. Did not eat that either. I ate the nut and jam cake, very lumpy, but no animal was killed in its making.

The moral is, waste not want not, when it is subsistance living. Our more cultivated palates don't eat things like grubs or insects, but survival is a pretty important part of living a long time.

Meanwhile, I have one of those metal chair squirrel feeders too, but haven't decided where to locate it. Somewhere far far from my nearest hosta pot!

And I have a family of squirrels here, began when I moved to this house, White Dove. Bob had no tail. I think Bob was a girl. Subsequent years find additional mutant ninja squirrels around like Bobby, Shorty, Red Bob, and so on. They have some deformity of the tail, and also some red coloration. I always watch for them, and hope that one member of the family survives long enough to procreate. My own little Galapagos observations, in memory of Darwin.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 11:46AM
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Moccasin(z9aMobileAL)

Bragu, did not realize you were a chef. The cookbooks you must use could be along the lines of Justin Wilson's early works, or maybe volume one and two of WHITE TRASH COOKING, lots of recipes for wild caught meat, shall we say. Including alligator. Then down a whole different road, there is the ROAD KILL COOKBOOK, which I gave to my friend the gourmet cook.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 11:55AM
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bernd ny zone5

Oh that metal chair! You do not need to shoot any squirrel, only connect a 110 V wire to it from the inside and plug it in when occupied..

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 5:08PM
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don_in_colorado

This seems appropriate.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 7:56PM
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don_in_colorado

A have a mental image of the squirrels that terrorize Gary's garden as looking like this...

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 7:58PM
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don_in_colorado

Best to not attempt to live-trap this one...

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 7:59PM
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don_in_colorado

Sometimes squirrels do us a favor and commit suicide...

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 8:00PM
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ariel7576(7b)

Squirrels are evil!
I absolutely adore the sentiment of allowing your neighbour, who is able to enjoy very little, to enjoy feeding the animals, notwithstanding their disruption of your garden, though!
I would buy an owl to get rid of the squirrels where I live, except I'm in the city & they hate lights at night, and I have a 10-lb miniature pinscher & I'd be afraid the owl would prey on him as well.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 8:07PM
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garyz6ohio

Thanks Don, now I'm going to have nightmares after seeing those pictures! Caught number 2 today Nature Preserve, here I come.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 8:28PM
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don_in_colorado

Could be nice; Season to taste...Except for the carrots. Yuck!

Don B.

Here is a link that might be useful: Slow-Cooked Squirrel Recipe

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 8:37PM
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ltilton

I was really hoping the Polar Vortex would kill them off here, but no such luck.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 8:43PM
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bkay2000(8a TX)

They really do damage. They are especially destructive in the spring. They think every shoot has a pecan under it. So they dig it up. You replant it. Then, they also don't remember they've already looked here. So they dig it up again. The root systems get smaller and smaller. I pretty much gave up smalls for that reason.

bk

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 9:52PM
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Moccasin(z9aMobileAL)

Crikey, BK, I was surprised to find only a few smalls were lost from my mass planted pots. Despite the squirrels, most came back and are flourishing as I never expected. I was writing them off. But here is on of the mass pots taken last couple of days. And those were the pots I did not tip over.

Munchkin (all green form of Masquerade); venusta species; and Ruffian which sometimes has white on the leaves from Stuart Asch.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 11:51PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

hey gary...

i hope you are planning a return trip this season ...

ken

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 9:01AM
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Terri9094(5a)

Moc--where did you get your Ruffian?

Never mind, found the thread--lol! (Spring in Kentucky)

Lovely little ruffly guy. Hoping the squirrels stay out of that pot! I have brought a couple out of the shed--the squirrels have already dug into one of them. I just cover the hole back up, they rarely do damage to the actual plant.

Chipmunks are another story! They bury bird seed, then I have to pull out the sprouts from the pots. They are so cute though--squirrels also.

This post was edited by Terri9094 on Tue, Apr 8, 14 at 15:12

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 12:28PM
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garyz6ohio

Ken, I'm looking forward to visiting again. Terrie, don't get me started on chipmunks.... My mother still hasn't forgiven me for the cute pair that I transplanted to her terraced garden when I was just a wee lad!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 8:12PM
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don_in_colorado

Too late! We've started on chipmunks. The ones I've seen are pretty tiny. Still, get enough of 'em...

Don B.

EDIT: I apologize, I didn't read this recipe carefully at all. There are no chipmunks in this pie. Don't you worry; I'll find us a good one.

Here is a link that might be useful: Recipe for 'Chipmunk Pie'

This post was edited by Don_in_Colorado on Tue, Apr 8, 14 at 20:21

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 8:18PM
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old_dirt(5b)

Last fall I supplied a Cub Scout group with 20 squirrel tails they used to decorate their walking/survival sticks. I now have 6 more hanging in the garage. Young ones get par boiled and fried and the older tough ones make darn good stew.
I've got so many critters around here I'm always at war with one or more of them.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 10:00PM
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don_in_colorado

I would rather eat raw squirrel than cooked carrots. I think.

Don B.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 10:50PM
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bkay2000(8a TX)

Thanks, Don.

Best laugh in days.

bk

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 11:23PM
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esther_b

Today I found a good-sized squirrel hole (they are the bane of my garden, besides the Chinese neighbor and his kitschy tzochkes) next to my Maui Buttercups I.D. stake. I cannot remember where the stake was, relative to the plant, but the hole was empty. I hope the varmint did not dig up my Maui Buttercups! They have made divots all over my gardens, which I tamp down every day-->only to find MORE the next day.

Also, some dumb sparrows keep building a nest on the brace holding my air conditioner up. I knock it down every day, and every afternoon when I come home, there's the beginnings of another nest. WHEN will they give up and find another nesting spot?

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 12:42AM
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Babka NorCal 9b

We have tree squirrels here and see 10 or 15 a day. They dig holes in everything here even my hanging pots. I have to put hardware cloth on my pots all Winter until the hosta pips grow thru it before I can remove it. Furry tailed rodents that should be destroyed. I am in a suburban area and these d@#$%& squirrels can go live in the coastal mountins and OUT of here.

Does squirrel taste like chicken? We have some gray ones with cute white tummies and wondrous tails, and some black ones with very sparse tails, that could be mistaken for rats. I hate them all, and am thrilled when the PG&E workers come thru and prune the trees destroying their big nests.

-Babka

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 3:51AM
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gardens1(5b ON)

Mocc, now you know the story behind your tailless Bob. It escaped from old dirt and fled...

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 9:50AM
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bkay2000(8a TX)

They taste pretty much like chicken thighs, but they have little tiny bones you have to watch for.

bk

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 12:07PM
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harryshoe zone6 eastern Pennsylvania

Once you have squirrels living near your house, you are open to real problems. Gray squirrels seem to enjoy gnawing through everything. Besides ruining the bird feeders and bird houses, they also ruin my house. They gnawed their way into my attic. Made a giant mess and lots of noise. I had to pay to kill 'em, clean up the mess, remove trees and repair my house.

In my previous workplace, gray squirrels gnawed through the wood fascia in eight places. They ran around in the walls and ceiling making so much noise that it was hard to concentrate. One finally chewed through a wire and fried himself. The smell was so bad that we had to close the building for three days until the dead vermin could be found. Meanwhile, starlings invaded the office through squirrel holes we didn't initially find. It seemed like birds from all over the town flew in just to use my office as a toilet. They estimated the entire episode cost us over $50,000.

There's a BB gun next to my back door at all times. I dare you to tell me it is cruel to plug those #*@+#! tree rats!!!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 1:10PM
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don_in_colorado

Same thing happened to my cousin's house in Westland, MI. Except it was RACCOONS that chewed through the side of the house, near the roof, and took up residence in her attic. OH MY GOD she let them stay there for several months before any action was taken and they were finally removed. I don't know how much the damage cost her exactly, but Harry's thread above is probably a good reference point. LOTS o' money.

Don B.

This post was edited by Don_in_Colorado on Wed, Apr 9, 14 at 17:35

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 5:31PM
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bernd ny zone5

I once lived in an old apartment, had a couple invited and served cake, I worked with him in the same office, she pregnant, when a squirrel fell through the ceiling tiles. I could chase the squirrel out through the open kitchen window. That was sheer disaster, especially for the lady, they left, the lady was OK.
Them squirrels are no good!!!
Bernd

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 7:06PM
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don_in_colorado

LOL Bernd! My cousin finally decided to do something about the raccoon takeover when their weight opened the pull-down attic door, and three of them entered the house from there. They breached that entry like Seal Team 6! Ha ha ha (I laugh because the whole family told her so, but NOOOO she didn't listen, and then she was so shocked). Plus it's funny. : )

Don B.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 7:52PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

"The vet office I work at does a lot of relocations with wild animals they've helped. They put monitors on them and they actually have a very high success rate."

They put monitors on squirrels? Oh man, they got too much money. Just exactly what did they put monitors on?

Evidently the universities around here (including veterinary schools) don't know what they're talking about as they too speak of the high mortality of transferring rabbits, squirrels and chipmunks.

Tree rats are no favorite of mine, but fur rats (rabbits) are much worse. In the words of Yosemite Sam...

Aaaaaheyeee hates rabbits.

tj

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 7:59PM
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gardens1(5b ON)

Rabbits are tasty, too... yes, they are similar to chicken, as is squirrel, but I found squirrel to have a slight 'wild' taste to the meat. I have to say though, I think these are the only two types of rodent I'd ever eat unless extremely desperate!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 11:32PM
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Moccasin(z9aMobileAL)

I am totally surprised that no one has submitted this classic of southern humor, Ray Stevens on the squirrel at the revival.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Mississippi Squirrel Revival

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 12:08AM
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don_in_colorado

It's voles that I hate, the other animals mentioned on this thread (Exception: raccoons) haven't messed with my 'stuff'. I realize I'm very fortunate in that respect; I am not bragging. Now, if they ever do, I'll be ready for WAR! But they never have, so it's dirty VOLES that draw my ire!

My trusty enforcer has been a true friend of the garden; If I have no/minimum plants with eaten-away roots or crowns, this is the guy who does the legwork, ambush and dispatching of voles. Last year and the year before that, Cujo has been a GREAT cat-buddy...Seems to love killing, eating, killing these Dirty nasty little voles!! I help him out a bit by making the vole distracted, demanding his attention one way, while Cujo nabs the varmint in it's confusion. Then, Cujo's happy (Loves a good crunchy-yet-meaty treat) I'm happy (Some nice plants will probably make it until they can see the sun again) So yes, call it weird, but my cat and I do sweeps in the yards at night, with the mindset to get voles. I think it helps the plants a lot more than if we never started doing these 'Vole Sweeps' in the first place. And, I get to spend some time with my semi-feral buddy! Everybody wins! Heh heh except the hosta mutilators.

No B.S. We're gonna go see what we can harrass out there right now. It's warm and dark. Will call in at Dawn.

Cheers, All
Don B. recon w/CUJO

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 1:12AM
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esther_b

What Cujo is messing with is a RABBIT, not a vole. If Cujo is coming into contact with these wild rodents and ingesting them, you better hope that the rodents have not first been dosed with any poison baits, or Cujo will be severely affected. In addition, Cujo can pick up fleas, plague bacteria, leptospirosis, tapeworms (from fleas, which are a vector), or even rabies.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 9:58AM
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hosta_freak(z6 NC)

This is much ado about nothing. Squirrels here do nothing to my hostas at all. Mine are planted in the ground,and squirrels do not bother with them. My biggest hosta enemy is cold weather. Everything else is not worth worrying about. No slugs do much damage,I have had voles in the past,but they are not a problem. We used to have Chipmunks awhile ago,but there is a predator cat in my area,and I think she has eliminated all of them.(Not my cats)! I even saw her the other day with a snake in her mouth! You all up north must have some voracious squirrels,because down here,they do nothing but eat acorns,and run around in the trees. That's my take on the subject. Phil

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 10:27AM
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Moccasin(z9aMobileAL)

As a good example of squirrels and their world wide reputation for destructive habits, there was a feature about them on Yahoo News yesterday. I liked this particular item in the news from Ft. Wayne Indiana. Link Below.

And meanwhile, I looked out my window at an evolving story of the short tailed squirrel descendent of my original BOB with the short tail....only this one I've now decided must be named RAMBO. Oh he was tough. Other squirrels came to the dropped seeds beneath the bird feeders and he chased them all away, going so far as to chase them up the cumquat trees or under the gate. But finally, there was a group intervention, and FOUR male squirrels came to send RAMBO up the fence so they could forage.

The episode begins

more squirrels come

Then Rambo goes berserk and chases them away, making sure they are gone from atop the wooden fence, before returning to dine alone



But four squirrels return as a mob to evict Rambo

....and Rambo retreats to the top of the fence to finish the goodies he had. I'm sure he considered this a strategic spot, from which he could safely return home or engage the four interlopers. He instead left the scene, headed home to the oak trees of the neighboring yard.

Here is a link that might be useful: Squirrel causes $300K damage

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 11:56AM
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zkathy(7a NC)

Rambo really does have a different tail. That's a great documentation of the normal ganging up on the abnormal. When you're weird ya gotta be tough! And I can't believe I'd never heard the squirrel revival song. My dad dragged us from New Orleans up to his little acre of heaven in Paulding, MS every weekend and summer of my teenage life. He'd sit on the swing and look at the pond down the hill for hours. I probably would have been bored wherever I was, but I blamed it on being in the middle of nowhere. Now I've recreated that same kind of existence here, but I haven't been bored for about 50 years now. This is a pic of the goat yard from the back deck. No hostas.

This post was edited by zkathy on Sun, Apr 13, 14 at 9:23

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 9:09AM
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josephines123 z5 ON Canada

Mocc, that read like a Hollywood story board, lol. Great fun!

Zkathy, your goat yard spells tranquility - I'd much rather, any day, sit and gaze at THAT scene than the houses I view from my deck...even of those houses had hosta! Lol

Last year was the first year I had a squirrel up on the deck. What was he after, you ask? Why, the pots, of course...he was either burying nuts, or looking for them. I'll have to mulch those particular pots with stones, make it more difficult for him. Lol

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 10:01AM
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Moccasin(z9aMobileAL)

ZKathy, I see no goats! :/ Maybe next time. As Jo says, it is so peaceful looking, a pond of your very own. One of these days, a great place to have hosta, when the goats are not there. Just wondering if you make cheese from goat's milk?

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 4:39PM
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zkathy(7a NC)

I'm so glad we don't make cheese. And the goats were up the hill on the other side of the house visiting the donkeys when I took this picture. We're trying to let their pasture recover. It's a good system. Donkeys eat grass, goats eat weeds. They're happy together.

Mocc, that is a fabulous sequence of pictures!
Kathy

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 10:53PM
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