December Wildlife

When I drove up the driveway yesterday afternoon there was a platoon of squirrels arranged around our freshly raked back yard. Every one of the critters appeared to be eating something that the lawn was yielding up. I thought it might be the little nub of matter in the helicopter blade-like maple tree seeds that are scattered all over the yard. I can scan across the leafless treetops behind the house and count a half-dozen squirrel nests at the penthouse level. All the squirrels looked like they had been packing on the ounces in advance of the cold weather. I’m talking ten large gray squirrels scampering from branch to fence to ground.

We’ve taken precautions in recent years by having the limbs of trees close to the house trimmed back to prevent jumpers from making it onto the roof. As soon as the tree service guys left the last time, someone told me that the squirrels will run up the drainpipe—they don’t need trees.

We’ve had them in the house in past years, and trapped more than I want to recall in the Have-a-Heart cage-trap. Sometimes I’d drive them to Shedd Park to let them loose, on advice of another expert who said you have to take them across a body of water to free them, in this case the Concord River, otherwise they will find the way back. Sometimes I carried them to the Common across the street and set them loose. I spraypainted the tail of one of them yellow to see if that guy would make a return appearance. He did. Old yellow-tail survived.

In a catalog we read about a battery-powered repellant device that emits some kind of sound wave that freaks out the beasts. We ordered five and put them in the attic. That has worked for a few years. We haven’t been plagued with upstairs runners for a while. I’m worried about this year, though. That team on the fairway yesterday looked pretty healthy. If it gets to be freezing outside, they could abandon their tree houses and make a run for the main building. Stay tuned.

6 Responses to December Wildlife

  1. Joe S says:

    Relocating wildlife is illegal in Massachusetts. It is detrimental to the well-being of wildlife as well as the public. Unknowingly, sick animals may be transported and released in other locations, causing the spread of disease. Animals released in unfamiliar territory have a hard time surviving. They must compete with resident animals, and they have difficulty finding food and shelter. Furthermore, relocation is ineffective: each time a territory opens, there is always another squirrel “waiting in the wings.”

  2. PaulM says:

    Joe, Okay, You trying to make me feel bad, right? I promise I won’t do any more relocating. The peregrine falcon in the neighborhood is thinning the population the old fashioned way. You should see that bird do some relocating when it takes off with gray cargo.

  3. Steve says:


    Paul, you can’t relocate them. You can’t shoot them. If you put them outside in your yard they already know how to get in. You might as well just let them move in with you.
    And you had better keep the Boston Terrier and the cat tied up. It’s illegal in Massachusetts to have a massacre in you house.

  4. Shawn says:

    Its illegal to transport them.. lol

    Its also illegal to drown them, gas them, or trap them in a shed with your dog until one of them comes out alive.

    Of course, I’m not saying I’ve seen all of these things done. lol

    We need a genetically modified squirrel designed that will wipe out the whole herd.


  5. Joe S says:

    Not trying to make you feel bad, Paul, just commiserating with the problems caused by these varmints and the regulations that protect them. I have 3 oak trees on my property, so they like the area, but I certainly don’t like them.

    Now that we know that relocation is not an option, maybe there are more permanent means to reduce their numbers in our neighborhoods.

  6. John Quealey says:

    Every morning in the Lowell Cemetary I see fox eliminating squirrels. If the squirrel makes it to a tree he is safe from the fox.