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 ... 0/5 ... 248 pages, 2003