Squirrels

Living in Arizona, desert squirrels are much different than Missouri squirrels.   There are three types of Missouri squirrels:  tree, ground and flying.  There are 66 species in North America and 7 in the state of Missouri.  I find them adorable, while most in Missouri find them a nuisance.  Missouri Department of Conservation has a website to control squirrel nuisances.

Apparently squirrels are so annoying, it is legal to shoot them with a BB gun or conventional firearm.  What?!  Actually, my uncle worked for Animal Control and he showed me his trap he uses to trap squirrels.  “Okay”, I thought.  “He relocates them.  That’s sweet”.  NOPE.  He traps them and drowns them and tosses them into the trash!  In his defense, he said they tear up his roof and cause a lot of damage.  However, my last day of visiting, I hid his trap.  🙂

There is a season for hunting and eating them.  From 600,000 to 700,000 squirrels are taken annually in Missouri. Squirrels furnish a large supply of meat each year for Missouri hunters. Squirrels provide considerable pleasure for city dwellers who observe them around their homes and in parks. Automobiles kill many squirrels annually. Economically, squirrels do some harm by their inroads on cornfields. They may girdle ornamental trees, particularly in early spring when they gnaw the inner bark. Occasionally, they damage the insulation on outdoor electrical wiring and frequently become a nuisance when they gain access to the attics of homes. In fact, starting kids out hunting squirrels is recommended.  Still gross.

Luckily my uncle, in Missouri, did allow me to feed them so I could snap some photos.  Originally I was trying to attract the Cardinals and Bluejays, but once bird food is out, squirrels will appear.  I love all wildlife and any chance I can get to sit and watch wildlife and take some photos is really special to me.

There are so many articles as to why squirrels twitch their tails.  Most say they are annoyed, are in danger, alerting frustration, or warning other squirrels.  Some say it’s a romance factor.  Slate.com has a great research article.

Living in Knoxville, TN for about 7 years, I found some photos of random squirrels in my backyard.  I do remember them destroying my bird feeders, so I would end up feeding them on the ground:

 

And here are some photos from the infamous, annoying squirrels of Missouri, in which I told my uncle to please not eat or drown.