Photo: modernfarmer.com

Squirrels are the bane of human existence. Everyone accepts this. Yet many are unaware of crucial issues related to dealing with these insufferable fluff-rats that can hopefully one day lead to their total annihilation. Therefore, Grumpy answers seven critical questions that millions of squirrel-haters are asking today.

Question #1: Would eradicating squirrels from North America cause any environmental catastrophe?

Answer: I don't know and I don't care. I still think it's a goal worth pursuing. We wiped out the dodo, passenger pigeon, and wooly mammoth and the world still turns. And none of them were remotely as annoying as squirrels. If we all stick together, we can do this.

Question #2: Why are there so many stupid squirrels anyway?

Answer: As with deer, many more squirrels exist today than when Columbus landed in the New World in 1492. The reason? Misguided, evil squirrel lovers provide these demons with everything they need to survive and thrive -- food (bird feeders), water (birdbaths), and shelter (attics). Thus, if you want to find squirrels, a forest wilderness is the last place to look. Look in the burbs. Every other shade tree holds a squirrel nest. I'm currently searching the web for a flame thrower-wielding drone to address this problem. Maybe something like this.

Question #3: What real harm do stupid squirrels do?

Answer: They gobble all the seeds in your bird feeder. They rob plants of just-ripened apples, tomatoes, and other fruits and leave them partially gnawed on the ground to rot. They dig up your seedlings and eat your bulbs. They sneak into your attic, chew on your wires, and burn down your house. They also carry fleas, ticks, mites, parasites, and horrible diseases like rabies that can make you look like this poor girl.

 

Pitiful victim of fatal squirrel disease. Photo: imgarcade.com

Question #4: What are some good ways to keep squirrels out of my attic?

Answer: Removing your attic always works, but then the house gets drafty. If you have gutters, install gutter guards. Squirrels often get into the attic by getting in the gutters and gnawing a hole in the fascia board of the soffit. Metal gutter guards prevent this. Spreading poison bait in the attic sounds like fun, but if a squirrel dies up there, it won't be. Traps are another alternative. Sunflower seeds and peanut butter make excellent baits. After you catch the varmint, you can exercise extreme prejudice (RIP, Rocky) or take it away and let it go.

 

Havahart squirrel trap. Photo: havahart.com

Question #5: Let it go? Won't the dang thing just find its way back?

Answer: Not if you take it far enough. I put the trap and squirrel in the trunk of my car, drive 13 miles to work, and let it go. None has ever returned. Look at it this way. Any animal that's going to zigzag 12 times in front of your car on a neighborhood street before you finally squash it ain't gonna survive a gauntlet of busy interstates and bridges between it and your house.

Question #6: How can I keep squirrels off of my bird feeder?

Answer: There are lots of fancy squirrel-resistant feeders out there that make the critters fly off, fall off, slide off, or close the seed ports. Grumpy uses a tube feeder with short perches designed for little birds and hangs it from his crepe myrtle using a single wire. The feeder hangs at just the right height and distance that it can't be plopped down on or jumped to. Another excellent strategy -- fill your feeder with Cole Hot Meats, which are sunflower meats infused with Habanero oil. Birds don't sense or react to the pepper at all. But when squirrels eat it, this is what happens.

 

Medium-well, please! Photo: ludingtoncitizen.ning.com

Question #7: Wow, that squirrel looks tasty! Can we eat squirrels?

Answer: We sure can! Grumpy just finished reading a fascinating article published by Modern Farmer that points out that squirrel has been a traditional American meat for many years. In fact, "Up until 1975, The Joy of Cooking included an illustration and description of proper squirrel skinning within its pages." Modern Farmer praises squirrels for being a local, non-GMO, hormone-free, lean, sustainable source of protein. "Limb chicken, as squirrels are affectionately known in many hunting circles, is arguably better than grass-fed beef or organic pork when it comes to planetary health," it states.

I agree! Try this tasty recipe for Bacon Wrapped Squirrel found by my Southern Living protege, Kaylee Hammonds. Mmmmmmmm. Bacon!

What to drink with cooked squirrel? I propose a good Rioja, Syrah, or Zinfandel. If you're not a wine drinker, our man-about-town, Keith Stone, suggests this outstanding beverage.

 

Keith Stone. Photo: Keystone

Keystone Light. So smooth, always.

 

 

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