In part one
of this mini-article series, we looked at some of the reasons squirrels have important roles in the lives of people, other animals, and the environment. We’ve learned that their caching behavior is essential in the renewal of many tree species including oak, hazel, and pine, and that their natural preference for belowground-fruiting and epigeous fungi is integral to deciduous forests’ regeneration and health. We now know that squirrels are an important link in the ecological food chain, being an important item on the menu of many animals, including badgers, snakes, bobcats, red-tailed hawks, and weasels. Finally, we saw that, despite their controversial presence in residential environments, many people are naturally drawn to the fuzzy-tailed acrobats, almost always ranking them first in their preferences for urban/suburban wildlife species.
It’s now time to analyze the other side of the coin, specifically the one that classifies squirrels as garden villains, “tree rats,” and troublesome pests for homeowners.