Squirrel Wars

So, I have a little shelf I installed outside my office window. I like to feel as “outside” as I can while I work. I decided to start feeding the squirrels. It took forever for them to find the corn. However, after he discovered it – he camped it like a bulimic chick at a buffet. So, I set up a web cam.

These are some short videos I took of my little squirrel and the hilarity that ensued. I just uploaded .mov files and they work for me – but if anyone has problems viewing them, let me know. Maybe I can upload them to youtube or something. I don’t know if it’s standard to open .mov files on a PC. I know they can be opened with VLC media player (http://www.videolan.org/vlc/)

Here is said squirrel. This is the day he discovered I was on the other side of the glass. Isn’t he cute?

Squirrel discovering I’m on the other side of the glass

Shortly after this he also connected that I would open the window and give him more corn when he was out. Eventually, he started beating the glass with he cute tiny little feet when he was out, demanding I replenish his supply. Ingrate.

About a week after that, I look over in the middle of the day and I’m like “HOMG! I have TWO cute little squirrels… that second one is kinda runty…”.

Squirrel: Two points

The war between the McCoys and the Hatfields had begun. As you can see, it was a pretty even fight….

Squirrel: Minus two points

This went on for a couple of weeks. I think they finally decided to take shifts.

35 Responses to Squirrel Wars

  1. I hate to tell you but the runty one is a rather large norway rat not a squirrel and he seems to be getting bigger from the first video to the second video , so i would be careful about the rat as he might just decide to take up residence inside with you. and all the rest of his bagillion cousins :mrgreen: 😯

    • I noticed that too on the third vid.

      My dad has a very simple solution for rats, but I doubt you wanna deal with a live catch trap and a car exhaust pipe. But then he does have livestock to think of and rats are very bad for that. Big ones will kill chickens and he had a few that were bigger than my cat. Not that is stopped her from killing them. She was quite capable, especially for having only three legs. I miss her tremendously.

      And I am rambling. Painkiller + lack of sleep = loquacious Connell

      Oh, and thank you for posting in Kevin’s absence. It is rather nice to pop on here and still have something to read besides the snarky comments that your husbands fan-base aim at each other. Love the artwork. I am always in awe of people that have developed their visual art skills. I wish I had taken the time to do so in addition to my music and writing. My brother’s the artist.

      • Actually, I do have a live trap. And I’ve removed several rats from the premises and released them elsewhere across town. I’m a sucker. If you find one, there are always two. They live in mated pairs. Of course, you might have a dozen of those.

        My Tante Lena had a different approach. She just released a rat snake in the attic every year. I don’t mind them too much. I hear them in the walls every spring. I assume they are nesting. We are in an old house. I plug in those “rodent irritation” devices and chase them around the house, doing practically no good.

        You are welcome for the posting. I’m glad you are enjoying it. It’s been kinda fun to think of stuff to post. Perhaps Kevin will let me take a day occasionally when he gets back. We can call it “Lena’s rambling”. LOL.

    • It does not look like a grey squirrel, that’s true. It would be more definite if we could see the tail in the second video. Edited to add: Nevermind, I paused the third video and yes, it looks like a rat tail on the rodent beating up the squirrel. Yikes.

      At first I wondered what a “Norway” rat was doing in the USA and thought maybe it’s a European species which has been inadvertedly introduced via ships, but no, then I looked it up and discovered that it’s merely one of the English names for the brown rat, or what we in Germany call a “Wanderratte” (wandering rat), the globally ubiquitous Rattus norvegicus, as opposed to the “Hausratte” (house rat, or Rattus rattus, which in English is also called black rat, ship rat, or roof rat , because it is a better climber but poorer swimmer than the brown rat).

      So it may be a roof rat instead of a Norway rat? Anyway, it’s still a wild rat, and while those may be tamed, I’m not really a fan of rats despite being a zoologist, or because of it. Fascinating survivalists, yes, but also potential disease spreaders.

      Both the American grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) and the red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) which is native to Europa and the British Isles do not solely feed on nuts and seeds, but also occasionally on birds’ eggs, nestlings, fungi, fruits and shoots, similar to the racoon which is also an opportunist feeder. Both squirrels and racoons (as well as rats) are hemerophile (= dwelling or thriving in habitats influenced by human activities, like cities, or areas under cultivation) and pretty smart and adaptive. So no wonder the squirrel figured out where the food was coming from. πŸ™‚

      How much squirrels influence bird populations is still contested, some studies claimed they found a strong negative impact on bird species in the area from eggs and nestlings being eaten, a new study by the British Trust for Ornithology and Natural England that was examining the impact of the grey squirrel[*] on British bird populations contests that, showing significant data that of 38 bird species examined some species’ populations remained the same, some actually seemed to be influenced positively, while some species declined when squirrels were in the area.

      [*] The American grey squirrel is an invasive species on the British Isles and in northern Europe, where it is displacing the slightly smaller and less prolific native red squirrel from its habitat and studies found grey squirrels also damage British woodlands because they are feeding differently than red squirrels and the European tree species are not adapted to them, so the grey squirrels are causing damage they’re not causing in their native North America.

    • Yeah. I knew it was a rat. Pretty obvious when you are only two feet away. I just didn’t want to ruin the surprise. The videos aren’t quite National Geographic quality. I had no idea they would come in the middle of the day. But, I guess free chow waits for no one. I also had no idea rats and squirrels would fight over food. It was just so bizarre. And entertaining.

  2. I’m glad I’m not the only one thinking of dinner-squirrel, not rat. The fight was pretty entertaining, too.

  3. .mov files are quicktime, so most PCs don’t come with a way to open them. They are common enough however that almost everyone has installed quicktime (Apple’s really crappy player), “quicktime alternative” (an unofficial way of viewing them in any player), or vlc, (an opensource player that plays almost any video) to view them.

    Personally I think VLC works WAY better because it has a fullscreen option, and the official software, (apple’s quicktime) doesn’t. Also VLC plays other movie files, even ones that are corrupted or still being downloaded.

    • Yea, I’ve been using VLC too for over a year now, and haven’t downloaded or used Quicktime for a long time.
      Not only did I almost never use it anyway, but the frequent “Apple products” updates were annoying and mostly involved getting more and more stuff I don’t use on my PC.

  4. Eh, one guy I know refuses to make a distinction between squirrels and rats–calling them all rats. His property is pretty near a large park system and he’s forever dealing with raccoons and all sorts of other pests too.
    He reserves special ire for the park management that decided to start flooding the park again so that it could become wetlands as it supposedly was at one time in the distant past. What this in effect means is that they’re now mosquito breeding pools being maintained by the city works department (taxpayer dollar) in the middle of an urban area.

    With that example of more dangerous and expensive foolishness closer at hand I just can’t be bothered to finger-wag at someone feeding rats.

    • Mosquito fish and other predators can keep the wetlands clear provided they have the insight to do so and keep the water full year round. If they neglect it, dump a bunch of water in and let it dry out on its own periodically (which it already seems to do naturally) the predators won’t be able to establish themselves and mosquitoes will thrive to dangerous levels. Insuring water flow across the entire wetlands will also prevent mosquitoes. I know all this because I worked at a company that makes wetlands all the time. They can be quite the benefit at removing nutrient pollution, thus preventing algae and thus keeping local waters clear and beautiful if done properly.

      So really it’s a matter of competence vs. how “natural” (read: neglected) they leave it. I’d be amazed if they fully neglected such a thing though, as it would be an phenomenal health hazard that cities normally go to great lengths to avoid. That’s not merely annoying, it’s dangerous. I mean cities do stupid and wasteful things, but they’re usually pretty efficient at preventing things that cause mass disease and death.

      • The Eco-morons consider anywhere that has a puddle when it rains “wetlands” and use that as an excuse to keep people from building homes, roads, schools, what-have-you. And God forbid they find some supposedly “endangered” worm anywhere within 20 miles…that makes it “Endangered species habitat” and an excuse to just take your property away.

        • Personally I like the beach and wish the water was more clear if anything. And I doubt health regulations would actually let an untended mile wide mosquito-disease death pit go through anywhere. But ya environmentalists do a lot of stupid things that only stop industry and have minimum benefit or even hurt the environment.

          Maybe I’m happier because Huntington Beach (where I live) seems to be the only competent city I’ve seen, well, anywhere. I go 10-500 miles in any direction and it usually sucks.

          • Last year in Holland, they had a “wild life reserve” (Read: a a small shitstain they dubbed a proper forest).
            Which they surrounded with gates and fences to protect, preserve the wild life..
            Problem was the animals had to little room to walk, to little food to eat, no proper shade (it was damn hot in holland this year)

            Many of the so called protected animals died, Which was broadcasted on the tv on a regular basis for a while, and rather then allowing people to save or help the animals, they were arguing about leaving nature run its course.. Yeah..leaving critters to die surrounded by fences is Natures way..hell the “Partij van de dieren”(Animal -protection- political group) were all for – preserving that deathtrap- Not sure what they decided in the end but I’m sure it wasn’t Natures way πŸ™„

      • Actually, it’s pretty much just like your, “It couldn’t possibly be like,” description. The park system in question is flood valleys and/or canyons around creeks and rivers and most of the water pools do dry out periodically and have no water flow elsewhere. It’s blocked from being established better by a paved bicycle path established decades before this re-flooding program was established and there seems to have been much more attention paid to putting up signs than to actually preventing the exploding mosquito population from having already exploded.
        If this strains your credulity look into it: Taylor Creek Park in Toronto.

    • Why, I’m sure we can have peace with the rats one day, if they’d just stopped hoarding all their 20+ countries to themselves while still looking hungrily at ours. πŸ˜‰

      Oh, who am I kidding? There’s more chance of peace in the “41st millennium”.