Wednesday, October 25, 2006

A hard to swallow squirrel solution

A few weeks ago, I told you a story about the squirrels attacking people in a Mountain View, California park. Apparently park visitors had taken to feeding the cute little rats biscotti and banana-nut muffins due to a shortage of their natural food source, litter. This went on for some time until some jackbooted park rangers put an end to the volunteer squirrel feeding program. Now PETA claims that squirrels don't hold a grudge.

Living in Harmony With Squirrels (PETA's HelpingAnimals.com)

Nevertheless, it'’s important for all of us to remember that we should not vilify these animals' they don'’t have a score to settle with us.
I think the facts speak for themselves, however. Immediately after the feeding ban was put in place squirrels began attacking park visitors. With angry squirrels attacking cute little toddlers, park rangers were left with no choice but eradicate the squirrels, until the story became national news and cute animal loving people began complaining. So the squirrel hunt was put on hold.

Squirrel traps left unarmed, for now (MercuryNews.com)
The squirrels at Mountain View's Cuesta Park have been enjoying a reprieve: Mountain View hasn't "armed'' the heavy-gauge steel traps that would've squished them to death. That was the fate they faced after three people -- including a 4-year-old boy -- were bitten by the bushy-tailed rodents at the popular park, and city officials said they had no other recourse. But as of Friday, the 15-inch tube traps placed in trees at the sprawling park "have never been armed,'' said David Muela, community services director for Mountain View. Instead, the city has successfully retrained park visitors, who were feeding the squirrels a steady diet of muffins and leftover treats for their children.
Trout Underground made a comment on my original post that got me thinking.
I think the problem isn't that squirrels have become habituated by human feeding.

It's that we're not training the humans to *not* feed the rodents by letting the squirrels bite, maim assault anyone who does.

Sure, it's a radical's simple solution to a complex problem, but I think we'd have a lot less bear problems in Yosemite if we'd train the bears to attack those who offered them food.
While this initially sounded like a good plan, there was a fatal flaw in Trout Underground's logic. Any animal trainer with a lick of sense knows that the only way to train a bear (or squirrel) is with food rewards. If you train them to attack anyone who offers them food then you end up with a dead animal trainer. This plan is not cost effective since you may go through two or three animal trainers per animal you train.

We need to find a real solution before a tragedy strikes like it did in this park in the UK:

Russian squirrel pack 'kills dog' (BBC NEWS)
A "big" stray dog was nosing about the trees and barking at squirrels hiding in branches overhead when a number of them suddenly descended and attacked, reports say.

"They literally gutted the dog," local journalist Anastasia Trubitsina told Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper.

"When they saw the men, they scattered in different directions, taking pieces of their kill away with them."
I believe that by feeding squirrels, we have taught the squirrels that they are at the top of the food chain and that people are at the bottom. This is a dangerous predicament because it is only a matter of time until a squirrel attempts to eat a human. A secret government program to teach people how to defend themselves from human eating squirrels has already been developed.

After some extensive research, I determined that squirrel attacks were virtually non-existent in the Southern United States. What is different about the South, you ask? People in the South eat squirrels! I believe that in order to solve the squirrel crisis in the west, people must start eating squirrels, lots of squirrels.

I have listed some of my favorite squirrel recipes to help those in the west think of squirrels as a tasty treats instead of cute fuzzy friends.

Wild Buttery Squirrel
While this concoction of Vodka, Amaretto, Butterscotch Schnapps does not actually contain any squirrel, I recommend that you knock back a few of these before sampling some of the other recipes.

Pork Rind-Crusted Fried Squirrel with Molasses Red-Eye Gravy
Anything encrusted with pork rinds and then deep fried has got to be good.

Squirrel Casserole

Surprise your family this Thanksgiving with a squirrel casserole topped with the traditional Durkee French Fried Onions.

Chicken Fried Squirrel

This recipe leaves out 8 of the Colonel's herbs and spices to let that squirrel flavor come through.

Squirrel Fricassee
Nothing warms you up on a cold winter day like a warm bowl of squirrel soup. MM...Good!

Squirrel Sorbet

This refreshing treat is the result of that ominous question: What happens when you put a squirrel in a blender? Apparently if you throw in a couple of eggs and a whole lot of sugar and refrigerate it overnight, then you get a tasty goop the kids will love. Don't forget that you can "garnish with the ears" for special occasions.


Save a toddler...Eat a squirrel.


2 comments:

Trout Underground said...

Flaw in my logic? How wrong you are, my low-tech friend.

Rather than sacrifice live animal trainers to the cause, I propose we train bears to attack moronic food humans with robots and dummies.

After all, the army trains its recruits to use bayonets at the "expense" of a few bayonet dummies, why not the same for our battered bear population?

Still, your recipes are genuis, especially your "Buttery squirrels" cocktail.

And you are to be commended for exposing the Looming Squirrel Menace to the general populace.

Given the credibility of the Russian Squirrel Attack on a dog, I'm beginning to see the roots of a conspiracy, likely lead by some furry terrorist equivalent, like Osama Bin Squirrel.

The Virtual Ranger said...

Mmmm... tasty. The trouble with eating squirrels - an oft-suggested solution for our grey squirrel problem over here in the UK - is that they taste nasty, bony and gamey, and it's a lot easier and nicer to catch and eat nice fat rabbits.