Squirrel in the Hole!

So. I am seeing considerable debate out there about whether or not building catapult traps for squirrels is ethically appropriate.

I’m all for them. I used to keep a bird feeder at a previous house and worked hard to try and discourage excessive squirrel usage. By excessive, I mean, “I put seed in here at 8am, and by noon, around ten squirrels have emptied the entire feeder”. So I hung the feeder on a thin wire strung between my house and a tree and put some wire around its lower and upper ends to discourage Mission: Impossible style shimmying down the wire. (It was high enough that no squirrel could jump up to it.) This worked for about a day. The squirrels then figured out that they could launch themselves from the tree to the feeder, despite the feeder being a considerable distance away. Every once in a while, I would get some mild amusement from a squirrel missing the feeder and slamming cartoon-style into the window, but they got pretty good at it very quickly. Putting lubricant on the feeder tube didn’t seem to affect their ability to get a grip on the tube as they hurtled past it.

With a later garden, I was able to effectively keep out deer and groundhogs (high fence, fence dug 18 inches into the ground). Squirrels, though? I suppose I could have put chicken wire across the entire top of the garden, but that would have made it look too much like Stalag-17. Fortunately they didn’t seem too interested in herbs or tomatoes, the major goals of my vegetable gardening. Corn, on the other hand, was pretty much stripped the moment it was vaguely edible: I saw squirrels bounding up trees with little ears in their mouths.

Squirrel-lovers protest: this is merely what squirrels do, what nature made them. Yes, indeedy. However, nature also made us hairless primates able to build squirrel catapults, digital video and YouTube. If it goes for squirrels, it goes for us too.

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6 Responses to Squirrel in the Hole!

  1. Is that Bartok the Leaper which those evil squirrel men are about to tear to pieces? Poor guy, I always wondered what happened to him.

  2. Timothy Burke says:

    More information about Batroc the Leaper can be found on the Internet.

  3. Well, I suppose it would be less objectionable if it seemed to involve an actual defense of something, like a feeder. It’s a little sadistic to seemingly lure animals into traps just for the purpose of hurling them. Frankly, I’d have more respect for this guy if he just killed the vermin, good and proper.

    We play out this psychodrama in my house every spring when a raccoon mama returns to raise a family in a tree in our front yard. I’m violently in the “Kill the vermin!” camp, while my wife and all my bleeding-heart neighbors have threatened to run me out of town if I do so.

    I blogged the raccoon saga. Forgive the blogwhoring, but I thought you’d actually enjoy it.

  4. Stubb says:

    On the vital topic of Batroc, I suppose you can rely on secondary sources, but I prefer more autobiographical accounts.


  5. Bartok, Batroc, whatever; it all comes out the same in French, right? Zut Alors!

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