The big question is “Why?”! Recently several residents of the Queens borough of New York City have reported unprovoked squirrel attacks. This isn’t following any sort of interaction, like feeding or chasing, so everyone is very puzzled. (Note: Fortunately, per the local health authority, squirrels aren’t typically carriers of rabies, though at least one victim opted to get a rabies shot.)
That’s the number of squirrels counted in the tally by volunteers at New York’s Central Park.
Read this great article from Smithsonian.com which includes a succinct history of the creatures, from the 1800s on, including a mob gawking at an escaped pet squirrel in 1856.
Why the count? “We do it for the squirrels, because it makes us happy.”
Play it from this Google Doodle archive page!
A certain Mr. Mooallem became obsessed by instances of squirrels causing extensive power outages and made a bit of a study of these sadly and inevitably fatal incidences over much of the past year (NY Times). It gives one paws, er, pause — that thousands of households are typically affected. Some cast a jaundiced eye at our fuzzy friends and attribute the events to a concerted and malevolent effort by squirrels nationwide.
It does make fascinating reading, but beware that there’s discussion of post-mortem positioning of the unfortunately deceased lads or lasses and how that relates to the interruption of power. Pretty grisly reading.
There’s even some humor. Read down until you get to the evasion tactics attempted and what happened when a faux owl was placed near the critical area.
All in all, a thoroughly informative and entertaining read.
The Edinburgh Zoo is short one Scarlet Ibis as a squirrel took pity on a caged brother creature and gnawed ceaselessly, with no thought to its own dental costs, to free the rare bird.
More on the BBC website about this squirrel-enabled escape.
Remember, the truth is out there, as they used to say on the X-Files.
What could be the reason for the seemingly random appearance of distinctly deep-violet squirrels? This article reports on an incident in Pennsylvania (US) and makes mention of earlier sightings in England and in Minnesota (US).
If you read that article you’ll notice (as you can see in the photo to the left), that the coloring is somewhat splotchy.
Of course, there’s a Facebook page for Purple Squirrel now, too.
The Time Magazine website has in its archives a slideshow of a photo spread from the 1940s. There was a squirrel who, as a young pup, was found and adopted by a very nice fellow who undertook to dress said squirrel in clothing.
It’s something not to be missed.
CNN’s iReport arm (their “Citizen Journalism” initiative) has collected the top five news reports on our favorite creature and put them all on this page. Adorableness does abound!
It’s replete with pumpkin-eating squirrels, squirrel babies being bottle-fed, and of course the cat nursing an orphan squirrel.
The Library of Congress regularly posts to its Flickr account, and it’s worth following for the gems here and there.
In this picture, we see a full page spread from the New-York Tribune of Sunday, May 2, 1909, with the headline, “Spring always increases the number of the park squirrels’ admirers and the little fellows seem to relish their popularity.”