A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that

Monday, 23 October 2017

Hooptedoodle #281 - Rats with Bushy Tails

sciurus carolinensis - introduced into the UK from North America in 19thC
 - doing very nicely, thank you
Visitor to our garden this morning - nothing particularly exotic, but a nice enough fellow.

I'm not saying that Neil the Ghillie used to shoot squirrels, mind you, but it is a fact that we never saw any here until he retired in June.

Are squirrels pests (I mean to farmers)? Maybe we'll find out over the winter.

Still haven't decided what we are going to do about our bird feeders this year. There's an experimental one attached to the kitchen window at the moment - sunflower hearts - no visitors yet; they must have given up on us. If we see any Magpies around the feeder it will be withdrawn immediately. Having said which, we've had Jackdaws for many years, and they don't bother with the feeders.

We'll wait and see.


  1. They do gnaw, and occasionally get into attics and porch roofs, which you don't want. They are also adept at raiding birdfeeders. Still, I have always had a soft spot for squirrels. We have large grey ones, foxy red ones, and even the occasional black one here in Michigan.

    Best Regards,


    1. Black ones! - I've never seen one - I read somewhere that black squirrels in the UK are mutations of grey or red ones. Hmmm.

      I'll have to keep an eye on the woodshed - we've only just reclaimed it after the summer visit of a family of swallows - what a mess they make!

  2. What Stokes said. They can make an awful mess in sheds and attics what with sampling everything, building nests etc. Our cat likes them though.

    (We do however, try to ensure that he enjoys them outside.)

    1. We don't have a cat, though there are a few round about.

      Unappetizing tale of wildlife - I recently attended a meeting of our residents' association (we were discussing the Septic Tank again - which kind of sets the tone...) - during this meeting, our host's dog (don't know what breed, but it is enormous, I am told it is half grown, and it is completely bananas) arrived, and was stinking to high heaven. I was told afterwards that there was a dead squirrel in a field behind their garden, and the dog had been rolling in its remains every day for about a week.

      I won't bother with game paté for supper, thanks.

  3. Years ago we lived only three doors away from the primary school our kids went to. Living in the end house next to the school was a guy who would sit in his front garden with an air gun and a can of tennents taking pot shots at the squirrels in the trees overhanging his garden - as all the children walked past. Of course these days he would have been removed by a SWAT team but that would just have made the squirrel problem worse!

    1. What a fine chap - what an upstanding example of free-spirited traditionalism - it's good that someone would refuse in this way to collaborate with the nanny state, and to be compromised by consideration for the well-being of others.

      I can imagine them being forced to remove the air gun from his cold, dead hands.

      What an arse. I don't suppose he would like a job on a farm in Scotland?

  4. Sorry about that unfortunate bit of ecological reverse-imperialism...

    We teem with these critters here. They are a bit of a pain in the __ as stated above. They sometimes chew on my brake lines!

    1. That is serious indeed - I was going to suggest that you'd have to put a stop to that, but thought better of it. One wonders why they would chew brake lines - perhaps they are extremely stupid? because they chew everything anyway? because the fluid is their equivalent of schnapps?

      Daft creatures.

      Never heard of that before. I knew someone who had a 15-year-old Volvo diesel estate which had done almost 200,000 miles when it was finally written off because resident mice chewed the wiring to bits, and it wasn't worth paying to fix it.