[Tweeters] Where'd all the urban yard rats go?

Pterodroma at aol.com Pterodroma at aol.com
Thu Mar 19 09:41:24 PDT 2009


After years and years of being plagued by 'eastern' gray squirrels (aka
"urban yard rats"), for the past 2 or 3 years now, they ALL seem to have
disappeared. Good news for some, bad news for others I suppose, you decide. Good
news here, the Douglas Squirrels have moved in where they have been an extreme
rarity in the past and are now a most welcome and cheerful regular. After
the eastern gray squirrel seemed to be everywhere a few years ago, it's been
quite awhile now since I have seen even a dead one (roadkill) in the street
much less a live one. I'm sure some neighborhoods must still have them and
maybe in obnoxious abundance. The only ones I have actually seen in this
Bellevue Eastgate neighborhood now for at least two, maybe three years, and then
very seldom, have been in every single case, ones that appear very sickly.
They have all appeared disheveled, weak, and just amble through in slow motion
completely unaware of my presence, even walking over my foot once while I was
quietly sitting on the back porch, like they are in some sort of torpid daze.

My question then is, and I almost hate to ask at the risk of raising heated
controversy (like the Canada Goose situation in the recent past), is or has
the state and WDFW been engaged in a quiet lethal eradication program
targeting the non-native introduced eastern gray squirrel? Just curious.

Oh, and while I'm asking, one other question stemming from something I heard
at the recent Seattle Flower & Garden Show; aplodontia (aka Mountain
Beaver). Someone there told me that the State (WDFW) has now mandated that all
Mountain Beavers should they be captured alive, (e.g. trapping) are to be KILLED
and NOT TRANSPORTED FOR RELEASE somewhere else. Is that true? If so, I
understand the reasons but I can't seem to find any verification about such a
policy. I am certainly guilty of the latter over the years but in all cases of
release it was done so with careful thought and search for areas deemed
suitable AND well removed from local private property (don't want to drop my
problem onto someone else) AND new growth forest tracts where their destructive
impacts are often most severe.

Richard Rowlett
Bellevue (Eastgate), WA
**************Feeling the pinch at the grocery store? Make dinner for $10 or
less. (http://food.aol.com/frugal-feasts?ncid=emlcntusfood00000001)
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