Squirrel invasion sweeping Georgia

Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013 7:44 AM
Last updated Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013 10:44 AM
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Wildlife authorities are perplexed by some strange goings-on with Georgia’s squirrel population.

This time, the furry rodents are doing more than chewing floodlight wires and emptying bird feeders.

They appear to be migrating – in a mass exodus – from some of the state’s northern counties.

“Our offices have been taking reports and noting unusually high numbers of road-killed squirrels for weeks, especially in the mountains,” said Wildlife Resources Division biologist Adam Hammond. “We also received several reports of squirrels swimming in Lake Blue Ridge in Fannin County, with one particular angler reporting 10 or more in a day.”

The phenomenon is reminiscent of the Great Squirrel Migration of 1968, when thousands of squirrels hit the road in search of nuts and acorns after weather conditions left their normal habitat devoid of mast crops.

Don’t believe me? I couldn’t make this up if I tried.

That event was so widespread and unusual that it caught the attention of the Smithsonian Institution’s Center for Short-Lived Phenomena, according to a study launched that year by the University of Maryland’s Natural Resources Institute.

The migration 45 years ago spawned the same types of reports officials are receiving this year, beginning with a bizarre account in the   Asheville Citizen newspaper in September 1968.

“This was followed during the next two weeks by other newspaper accounts of vast mass migrations, mass starvation, and unusual activities such as swimming lakes, damaging farmers’ crops or entering areas where they had previously been absent,” the Maryland report said.

“The number of dead squirrels on the highway was spectacular,” principal scientist Vagn Flyger wrote. “For example, Mr. C.M. Teseneer, Game Protector, reported 28 dead squirrels on a 22-mile stretch of highway, over 100 dead squirrels on an 80-mile stretch, and 100 dead specimens on a 27-mile stretch – all near Asheville.”

This year’s reports aren’t yet as widespread, but officials say the causes of the 2013 migration might be due to the same factors that sent the squirrels moving in 1968.

Biologists believe this year’s large-scale move is a result of the large mast crop, mainly oak acorns, produced last fall, which resulted in a larger than average number of young squirrels born this year.

The mild winter and wet spring combined with low mast availability this fall – sending squirrels in search of new habitat with more food.

“This may lead to more squirrels becoming ‘road kill’ and may help to explain the high number of ‘swimming squirrels’ that have recently been observed,” Hammond said.

That leaves just one key question: where will all these squirrels turn up? It might be in your own backyard.

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southern2
7086
Points
southern2 10/27/13 - 09:11 am
9
0
Buddy Carr would be having a

Buddy Carr would be having a field day on the air at WBBQ with all the squirrel jokes. Miss those days.

daphne3520
950
Points
daphne3520 10/27/13 - 11:58 am
0
0
SHOOT em!!!! NO TEXT!!
Unpublished

NO text!

chascushman
6653
Points
chascushman 10/27/13 - 12:48 pm
1
0
I agree
Unpublished

I agree

GuyGene
1433
Points
GuyGene 10/27/13 - 01:26 pm
6
1
Some of us boys just need to

Some of us boys just need to get out and squirrel hunt more - kill and eat. Mmmmm, yep squirrel is good, healthy meat to boot.

Bizkit
34368
Points
Bizkit 10/27/13 - 01:36 pm
4
0
Oh no "Rocky Horror". I bet

Oh no "Rocky Horror". I bet Bullwinkle Moose is wondering what happened to Rocky.

Bizkit
34368
Points
Bizkit 10/27/13 - 01:51 pm
3
1
Yes and these young squirrels

Yes and these young squirrels will be quite tasty. Fried then smother with white gravy and rice, maybe a nice salad on the side. I wonder if with such large numbers are most of the males Barr. Mother squirrels naturally bite the testicular cord of young male pups when numbers are too high or they "sense" a genetic anomaly so to sterilize their male offspring. Now supposedly it is a myth that squirrels will do it-no scientific evidence, but after about 50 years hunting squirrels I have killed numerous young males with no or rudimentary testicles. So something happened to them and the ole country story sounds about as good as any other-we've all seen dogs, cats, hamsters, etc shun offspring from the litter because of some weakness. Using dogs to detect ovarian cancer in humans so apparently these mammals can smell defects.

soapy_725
43949
Points
soapy_725 10/28/13 - 05:29 am
0
0
Ray Stevens, the squirrel and the 1st Self Righteous Church
Unpublished

Ray Stevens, the squirrel and the 1st Self Righteous Church of Pascagola.

justthefacts
24011
Points
justthefacts 10/28/13 - 06:36 am
1
0
Real problem

If we see any at ANGC next spring, we will know we have a problem.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 10/28/13 - 07:35 am
1
1
need it to freeze up good for

need it to freeze up good for a week to get rid of any creepy crawlies. Wolve parasite are about nasty looking but yeh, squirrel meat is fine. Much better than rabbit and not quite the quality of venison. I don't let them pass when in season.

griff6035
4223
Points
griff6035 10/28/13 - 10:08 am
0
1
Squirrel meat

It is good, growing up in Burke county in the forties Squirrel was on the table at least once a week in the winter. I have seen a lot of Fox Squirrels around here for the past two years. Something I have not seen this year is the Ladybugs, don't know why. Rabbit in the winter is also good.

Stunned 2
5869
Points
Stunned 2 10/30/13 - 09:47 am
1
0
Squirells are classified as 'Rodents',

Squirells are classified as 'Rodents', do you eat rats & mice also? UCK!

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