This weekend, the subject of squirrels came up due to the fact that we spotted one out the window of the kitchen. You may not think this is such a big deal but on Long Beach Island, there aren’t that many squirrels (or there didn’t use to be). We were trying to decide when they first started showing up …. uninvited I might add …. and came to the conclusion it must be about 10 years ago. Before that, you never saw them because LBI is an island and because the only kind of trees are pines – not their favorite hang-outs.
My mother wanted to know where squirrels fall in the scheme of things. If all squirrelhood were destroyed, would something else increase? i.e. If coyotes are eradicated, rabbits abound – that sort of thing. Would any creature miss a meal if the squirrels disappeared? Other than the back-woodsmen from books. Or would anything flourish because they had gone?

We finally agreed that there probably isn’t a species dependent on the squirrel for its livelihood. However, the trees might not travel as much. I’m sure there are some trees that have grown because a squirrel with Alzheimer’s forgot where he buried his acorns, etc. Also, I personally would miss them. We put out food for our wildlife and the squirrels are hysterical. One of them has gotten so lazy, he doesn’t even stand up anymore to eat. He just lies with his head in a pile of food.

And when we were in England in March, I swear our wildlife sent the word ahead. We were right in front of Kensington Palace and there was a squirrel, bold as could be, begging. I figure ours told them to look out for the easy marks from NJ – you can’t miss them. They’ll give you anything if you’re cute enough.
Unlike my parents, I have never had to deal with squirrels when they decide they’d much rather live in your house than outside. My mother takes them out into the wilderness (if you can find anything like that near Montclair) and she swears they make it back home before she does. So for me, I can still sit back and enjoy them – find them amusing. For her, they are an anathema – something to be taken VERY far away from her home.

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