If you’ve ever had squirrels living in your walls or attic, you know how the constant scratching, chewing, and thumping can drive you insane. It’s ironic, then, the theory that the rodent was introduced into our cities as a way to maintain our health and sanity. It’s hard to imagine our landscape without squirrels, but there was a time when the sight of one would whip up a frenzied crowd.
Back in the 1700s, they roamed the country in herds, yes actual herds, leaving a path of destruction as they went. One account from 1824 had a hunting party disposing of 19,000 of them in one week. As cities flourished, their natural habitat decreased. The ones that made it to the cities, however, were hunted for pelts or as food. Kentucky Burgoo became a big hit on Derby Day.
In the mid-1800s, they had been nearly eradicated from cities. By the 1870s, building parks became a way to bring nature into these cities, and with that, squirrels were introduced into the parks. The rest is history. They are now in the wild in every state except Hawaii, and there they are in zoos. They have become such an ingrained part of our culture that January 21st is National Squirrel Appreciation Day.
While they seamlessly jump from tree to tree, it’s quite amazing how they continually stick the landing and don’t plummet to the ground. Studies have now shown that launch sites and angles and handling unanticipated landings is a learned ability. Just what we need, smarter squirrels. We already knew they were cunning. To the unknowing eye, the rodent spends its day searching for and burying acorns. They pretend to put acorns in the ground about 20% of the time to throw off thieves. They are also very organized in their stashing process. A study at the University of California, Berkeley, from 2012 to 2014, found the eastern fox squirrel sorted and stored nuts of the same type together.
Come winter, they can find their cache of goodies under a foot of snow, and the ones they forget help with new growth trees. Unfortunately, acorns are not all they chew on. Their sharp incisors can easily make their way through electrical wires. Perhaps it was bad investments, but they were responsible for outages that shut down the NASDAQ market in 1987 and 1994.
In New Jersey, there are five species, the Eastern Gray, Eastern Fox, American Red, and Northern and Southern Flying. If you see a black squirrel, your eyes are not betraying you. About one in ten thousand gray and fox squirrels are born with this mutation. Regardless of color, they are not a creature you want roaming around your home or business. The destruction they cause is legendary, and there is a potential for the transmission of rabies, tularemia, and Lyme disease.
If these critters have made a home in your space, contact the number one rated squirrel removal service in Essex, Bergen, and Passaic counties, New Day Pest Control. We can provide you with an estimate and discuss our plan to get them out and keep them out.