relocating squirrels

Rodger Whitlock
Sat, 17 Dec 2005 15:36:18 PST
My own experience with trapping and relocating gray squirrels:

1. You don't have to take them very far. Even a mile will do. I've never seen one
return, and I've deported dozens to wooded areas a mile or so away.

2. Yes, other squirrels will move in as you trap out the residents, because Nature
abhores a vacuum. However, if you trap sedulously, repopulation takes longer than you
might expect. I suspect that squirrels may be on the roam at some seasons and not at

3. If you live-trap a gray squirrel, don't leave it overnight where raccoons can get
at it. Raccoons will kill any trapped squirrel and eat what they can drag through the
meshes of the trap. The result can be extremely gruesome.

4. If you accidentally trap a raccoon (which happens from time to time), be exceedingly 
cautious when you release it, lest the beast prong you with a claw or tooth. A friend 
related that a co-worker got clawed on the hand by a trapped raccoon and it took a 
full year for the resultant infection and swelling to fully clear up. If your live trap 
is an old one without a sheetmetal guard around the handle, be especially careful. 
Better yet, get a new one.

Other information:

5. Gray squirrels are introduced on Vancouver Island. As an introduced species they
probably lack the protection of wildlife laws. (Note that "probably".) However, if I 
lived on the mainland where they are truly native, it would be another story, but even 
there they may be classed as vermin, along with rats and mice.

6. Gray squirrels are not particularly territorial. (This is why there are so many of
them, and also why they are a threat to the native Douglas squirrel, a species with
~is~ intensely territorial.)

7. As one commentator put it, gray squirrels are simply rats with good PR.

8. There are at least two distinct geographic sub-races of gray squirrels, the eastern 
and the western. According to my references, the easterns are distinguished by a gray 
underbelly, the westerns by a white underbelly.

And one last point: even if trapping, relocating, and/or drowning gray squirrels is 
legal in your area, don't let the neighbors know. Don't forget that good PR.

No, wait, one more last point: I seem not to have trouble with gray squirrels eating my 
bulbs because the oak trees around me (Quercus robur and Q. ilex) produce huge 
quantities of acorns.

Rodger Whitlock
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Maritime Zone 8, a cool Mediterranean climate

on beautiful Vancouver Island

More information about the pbs mailing list