Nov 4, 2008

Solving Squirrel Problems

How to Keep This Ubiquitous Pest Out of Home and Garden
by Monte Burch

No, I don't have a squirrel problem. But I saw two books about squirrels at the library sale on the final day, and picked them up out of idle curiosity. I thought at least I'll learn a bit about squirrels, and maybe how to deal with any problems I might have someday.

This book wasn't quite what I expected. The first part has an overview of different squirrels species. There is information on squirrels' natural ranges, what they eat, and basic habits. The next chapter talks about dealing with squirrel pests which steal birdseed and destroy birdfeeders. After some info on how to discourage squirrels from raiding birdfeeders by your own devices, I suddenly found myself reading what appeared to be advertisements for commercially made bird feeders. Manufacturer's names, websites and prices included. Maybe this is standard information to include in this kind of book, but I found it annoying. Then lists of what kinds of seed attract which kinds of birds (wasn't the book about squirrels?) and how to build birdhouses that deter predatory squirrels (oh, there they are!) who like to eat eggs and baby birds. Next comes a useful chapter about how to keep squirrels from ruining your lawn and garden, and how to keep them out of your house. Then it veers again into discussing other types of rodent pests, especially rats. At this point I realized I really don't have the issues this book is dealing with, so why am I still reading it? I started flipping pages and got surprised at the end, which tells how to get rid of squirrels- by live-trapping, using traps that kill them (one by electrocution!) and shooting them. In fact, the final third of Solving Squirrel Problems is all about hunting squirrels.

This is where the book shines. There is so much information, detailed descriptions and personal anecdotes about squirrel hunting, you can tell the author enjoys it. He explains techniques for stalking or attracting squirrels, different methods to use in various seasons, what kinds of guns and ammunition are best, and how to skin, gut and cook squirrels. There are twelve recipes (and two for groundhogs) including squirrel vegetable-noodle soup, fried squirrel, barbecued squirrel and squirrel casserole. I can't say that any of them appear appetizing to me. I also learned that there's a market for squirrel tails. The hair is used to make flies for fishing.

The final chapter of the book is about being nice to squirrels: putting out food especially for them (which distracts them from the birdseed) building nest boxes for them, and managing habitats that favor them. The book also cautions handling squirrels (or any wild animal), and lists all the parasites and diseases squirrels can pass to people I wish I'd read that before my kid rescued a young squirrel from one of our cats and handed it to me! Finally, I have to call this book abandoned just because I skipped so many passages I didn't read it completely. Interesting in some parts, dull and annoying in others.

Abandoned                      248 pages, 2003


Amanda said...

What an odd book topic! Although it would have helped me back when we came home to find a squirrel in our house. The thing scared me half to death.

Bookfool said...

I've never considered squirrels a problem, so I guess just the last bit about being kind to them would interest me. Mostly, I think of them as photographic subjects, poor things. They do pose nicely, sometimes, but they can be a bit skittish.

dawn said...

Good for you, to investigate an unusual find from the library book sale!

I'm beginning to think that I'm turning into my mother ... the squirrels on the birdfeeder really bother me, and we've tried many solutions! (not hunting, though :) )

Jeane said...

Amanda- I'm sure the poor thing was frightened, too! I wonder how many funny noises in the night might be small critters scuttling through my attic?

Bookfool- I think squirrels must have "skittish" hardwired into them. Or they'd never have survived so long, with so many enemies.

Dawn- well, this book has some pretty good ideas for foiling squirrels. Although it seems to be only a matter of time before they figure one "baffle" out and you have to try the next one.

Evictor Products said...

Wish the book could have addressed all the squirrel problems out there. I had them chewing through my roof and into my attic for 25 years...finally solved the problem with a product called the squirrel evictor.

Hope to see this product included somewhere in "Solving Squirrel Problems" in the future.

Jeane said...

I don't remember the names of all the products listed in this book, so I have no idea if it mentioned the "squirrel evictor" or not- as noted, I did not read the entire book, and the product listings was one of the parts that got mostly skipped over.

I'd guess that if you want to see that product in future editions of the book, you should contact its author or publisher. It certainly sounds like a useful item.