Squirrels!

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reohn2
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Re: Squirrels!

Postby reohn2 » 30 Nov 2017, 5:33pm

AlaninWales wrote:
reohn2 wrote:
AlaninWales wrote:But the poor human is only doing what evolution created it to do.

You mean ultimately self destruct?

Most species do, when the resources they depend on come to an end. Where life continues, it usually does so by evolving to utilise the by-products as resources. Humans may achieve that via technology, or they might not.

I agree,but getting back to Squirrels,the introduction of the Grey has only done the Red harm,we humans were,and still are IMO,the villains of the piece by firstly importing the species and then not doing the right thing when we found it to be detrimental to the native one with such devastaing consequences.
We can still stop and indeed reverse this trend and so allow the native Red regain it's hold and repopulate the the UK.
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mercalia
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Re: Squirrels!

Postby mercalia » 30 Nov 2017, 5:39pm

reohn2 wrote:
AlaninWales wrote:
reohn2 wrote:You mean ultimately self destruct?

Most species do, when the resources they depend on come to an end. Where life continues, it usually does so by evolving to utilise the by-products as resources. Humans may achieve that via technology, or they might not.

I agree,but getting back to Squirrels,the introduction of the Grey has only done the Red harm,we humans were,and still are IMO,the villains of the piece by firstly importing the species and then not doing the right thing when we found it to be detrimental to the native one with such devastaing consequences.
We can still stop and indeed reverse this trend and so allow the native Red regain it's hold and repopulate the the UK.


should be a bounty on greys?

reohn2
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Re: Squirrels!

Postby reohn2 » 30 Nov 2017, 7:03pm

mercalia wrote:should be a bounty on greys?

I believe there should be a program of reducing their numbers to an absolute minimum.Extinction isn't possible but native Reds would only prosper as a result.
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MikeF
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Re: Squirrels!

Postby MikeF » 1 Dec 2017, 10:29am

reohn2 wrote:The Grey squirrel which was introduced in the mid 19th century, is directly responsible for the almost extiction of our native Red squirrel and is a nuisance.
Likewise the Rabbit which was introduced in the 11th century,the difference is the Rabbit hasn't been responsible for the decline of any other species that I'm aware of only farm crops.
That's an interesting point. In fact the lack of grazing in some places, including by rabbits, is causing a loss of species richness. However their numbers were "excessive" up to the mid 50's, but they were a good food source for animals as well as humans. :wink: Grey squirrels cause a huge amount of damage to mature trees. Large beech, for example, may not exist in many years time.
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Pastychomper
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Re: Squirrels!

Postby Pastychomper » 1 Dec 2017, 12:49pm

rjb wrote:Grey squirrels were classed as vermin. There was a scheme to pay anyone who presented a Squirrel tail to the appropriate authority. It was abandoned in 1958 when it became clear that numbers couldn't be controlled by culling. :D


I thought that was going to end "...when it became clear that people were deliberately breeding greys to collect the payment." :lol:

A more effective approach would be to pay people to plant pine trees, since red squirrels out-compete greys in coniferous woodland. Maybe the forestry commission is onto something...
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reohn2
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Re: Squirrels!

Postby reohn2 » 4 Dec 2017, 10:45pm

We were at Red Warf Bay on Anglesey today and were pleased to spend a few minutes watching a Red Squirrel not 3m away from us scampering about on a bare Sycamore tree.
Beautiful! :)
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brynpoeth
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Re: Squirrels!

Postby brynpoeth » 5 Dec 2017, 9:54am

reohn2 wrote:We were at Red Warf Bay on Anglesey today and were pleased to spend a few minutes watching a Red Squirrel not 3m away from us scampering about on a bare Sycamore tree.
Beautiful! :)


Red squirrels have been reintroduced on Ynys Mon apparently with some success, maybe grey squirrels do not cross the bridges

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reohn2
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Re: Squirrels!

Postby reohn2 » 5 Dec 2017, 10:23am

brynpoeth wrote:
reohn2 wrote:We were at Red Warf Bay on Anglesey today and were pleased to spend a few minutes watching a Red Squirrel not 3m away from us scampering about on a bare Sycamore tree.
Beautiful! :)


Red squirrels have been reintroduced on Ynys Mon apparently with some success, maybe grey squirrels do not cross the bridges

Cymru am byth!

Read this and tell me why we shouldn't be attempting to wipe out the horror of the grey and it's threat to our native Red:- http://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-w ... y-13752523

PS,the e one we saw yesterday looked in good condition thankfully :)
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kwackers
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Re: Squirrels!

Postby kwackers » 5 Dec 2017, 11:07am

reohn2 wrote:Read this and tell me why we shouldn't be attempting to wipe out the horror of the grey and it's threat to our native Red:- http://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-w ... y-13752523

PS,the e one we saw yesterday looked in good condition thankfully :)

IIRC the article I read recently in New Scientist there are some red squirrels that are immune to squirrel pox. If this is the case, wiping out the greys won't make the problem go away since it'll (probably) be carried by those reds that are immune.

It's not a trivial problem to solve and in some ways the the window for fixing it has gone. Isolating reds and greys means there are pockets of reds that have never been exposed to the virus and thus are susceptible.
Viruses don't reproduce well in dead animals, so they very quickly evolve to not kill their host. If you can't remove the virus completely then your best bet is to allow it to spread as slowly as possible through the population and accept that a fair percentage of animals will die before it becomes 'safe'.

We also have to accept that you'll never be able to rid the land of grey squirrels. It's a lost cause before it even starts. They breed fast, there are too many, they move around a lot and there's simply too much land to cover.

thirdcrank
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Re: Squirrels!

Postby thirdcrank » 5 Dec 2017, 11:27am

It's only within the last couple of years that the govt., has given up the attempts to eradicate grey squirrels. I'm not going to bother looking for links but regulations such as a duty on all occupiers of land to report sightings of grey squirrels were only rescinded within the last couple of years. (I can date that because my mother was in a residential home which had a nest in the garden wall at the time.) As mammals, they have a certain level of protection against what I'll call amateur extermination attempts and whatever the wider situation, the nation of animal lovers sees them as cute in a way that rats can only dream about.

Their unorthodox stop-start way of crossing roads means they don't cope well with traffic and I suspect that being run over is the only big threat to their existence.

reohn2
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Re: Squirrels!

Postby reohn2 » 5 Dec 2017, 1:04pm

OK,we'll give up then in the hope the remaining Red population will become immune and survive,until then the grey tree rat population will expand unrestricted........
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kwackers
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Re: Squirrels!

Postby kwackers » 5 Dec 2017, 1:10pm

thirdcrank wrote:It's only within the last couple of years that the govt., has given up the attempts to eradicate grey squirrels. I'm not going to bother looking for links but regulations such as a duty on all occupiers of land to report sightings of grey squirrels were only rescinded within the last couple of years. (I can date that because my mother was in a residential home which had a nest in the garden wall at the time.) As mammals, they have a certain level of protection against what I'll call amateur extermination attempts and whatever the wider situation, the nation of animal lovers sees them as cute in a way that rats can only dream about.

Their unorthodox stop-start way of crossing roads means they don't cope well with traffic and I suspect that being run over is the only big threat to their existence.

I've no idea how many live in my garden, I have a dozen or so mature trees plus an uncountable number of hedges and shrubs and my neighbours similar. Around us are parks and many more mature trees. I'd estimate there must be thousands of them within spitting distance.

If I were so inclined there's nothing I could do to reduce that number, not that I'm inclined to anyway. I quite like them, they're amusing to watch and together with hedgehogs and bats they make my garden a more interesting place. If they didn't exist I'd have no squirrels at all.

I noticed this year my oak trees had very few acorns so the squirrels have been much quieter. Last year trying to move across my garden was like walking on marbles there were so many.

Whilst oaks and squirrels have a symbiotic relationship I read somewhere that oaks vary the amount of acorns they produce over a cycle of seven(?) years, producing a bumper crop once per cycle. They do this apparently to prevent squirrel numbers from reaching the point where they eat all the acorns the tree produces. The low numbers hold back squirrel numbers then the bumper crop produces far more than the squirrels can eat ensuring the tree reproduces.

brynpoeth
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Re: Squirrels!

Postby brynpoeth » 5 Dec 2017, 1:13pm

In Germany there are more and more wild wolves, they interbreed with dogs

There is talk of liquidating the wolf-hounds to keep the wolf population pure (?!)

One wonders whether red and grey squirrels can breed, what would their offspring be? But maybe it would not be possible cos they diverged so long ago
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kwackers
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Re: Squirrels!

Postby kwackers » 5 Dec 2017, 1:23pm

brynpoeth wrote:One wonders whether red and grey squirrels can breed, what would their offspring be? But maybe it would not be possible cos they diverged so long ago

Reds separated out too long ago, so other than for a bit of cheeky fun they probably wouldn't bother.

Greys and blacks however...

andrew_s
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Re: Squirrels!

Postby andrew_s » 5 Dec 2017, 1:47pm

reohn2 wrote:I believe there should be a program of reducing their numbers to an absolute minimum.Extinction isn't possible but native Reds would only prosper as a result.

Irish experience is that the best way to reduce grey squirrels and increase red squirrels is to increase the numbers of pine martens.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment ... ne-martens

A pine marten doesn't usually catch a red squirrel because they can retreat right to the tips of the branches where the martens can't go, but greys are too big to do that. Apparently it's not so much that the pine martens eat lots of grey squirrels (though they do eat a fair number), but that the greys are so nervous when there are martens about that they don't fatten up enough for the winter.