On Squirrels and Birth Control

October 24, 2012 § Leave a comment

Squirrels can breed two to three times a year. Average litter: three pups. Average lifespan: six years. Do the math and that’s a lot of baby squirrels. Photo by likeaduck/Flickr.

There are so many hazards that come with life in a city. Fender benders, high cost of living, pigeon droppings, and acorn bombardments from the squirrels overhead.

For those of us here in the Northeast (and parts of NY and some of the Midwest), that last is probably going to get worse thanks to our mild winter and early spring, according to an AP news report that popped around the dailies last week.

But, just as there is more than one way to skin a cat, there is also more than one way to deal with an explosion of squirrels. Each comes with their own quirks, however. Poisoning, for instance, is the most straightforward solution but it’s also very frowned up by the public—we’re very fond of our fluffy-tailed tree rats (that’s a term of endearment. I like them too. Except the one that broke my window once). Another option is translocation: picking’em up and putting them down somewhere less problematic. But that not only doesn’t solve the overall problem, but some states like South Carolina prohibit it.

Option number three? Put’em on birth control. Yep. That’s not only a thing, but there’s some very serious research going into it right now, especially at squirrel-ridden Clemson University, where the little mammals have already taken out over 100-some mature trees.

I get into the actually science on this over on National Geographic’s daily news, so head on over and check it out!

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