Squirrels are not cute. OK, maybe Bob Ross feeding a baby squirrel with a tiny bottle is cute, but in the wild they’re basically just rats with less-gross tails; they climb into garbage cans and eat all the rotting food and scurry out when you least expect it. Because it was so warm last winter (and beech and acorn trees produced so many nuts in the two seasons before that), there are now tons of squirrels around. Scientists call this a squirrel “eruption,” the Associated Press reports.
And these squirrels — they’re hungry. Just ask Vermont orchard-owner Clarence Boston:
The squirrels wait until his apple crop is nearly ripe to swarm into the trees from nearby forests, sometimes eating half a tree’s fruit in two or three hours. Sometimes, the squirrels will take only one bite, but the teeth marks make the apples worthless for retail sale.
Or John Barber, of New York:
[T]he animals are building nests in his trees and sampling different varieties of apples as the fruit matures, staying one step ahead of his pickers.
He estimates, conservatively, that he is going to lose 15 to 20 percent of his crop.
Dammit, squirrels, there are only so many apples to go around! Stop hogging!
We’re not judging the squirrels — they didn’t cause the climate change that made conditions so favorable for their baby boom. But we also refuse to sit there and coo over them when they get in our faces and try to eat our sandwiches.
- Squirrel population boom frustrates fruit growers, Associated Press
Get Grist in your inbox