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

Pterodroma at aol.com Pterodroma at aol.com
Fri Mar 20 08:37:46 PDT 2009

Thanks Kelly for your response to my eastern gray squirrel query. I was
actually hoping you might have something to say and respond on the subject.
Disease as you suspect sounds about right given what I've noticed around here
and that it seemed to appear quite suddenly about three years ago. If Thurston
County populations appear healthy and prolific at the moment, I wonder if
other areas in the Puget Sound area are similarly affected as appears to be the
case in Bellevue/Eastgate.

As for the Mountain Beaver "mandate", web searches so far haven't revealed a
WDFW mandate for killing as I was told such was on the web somewhere. I
wish now I had asked for something more specific. The best I could find was the
very good WDFW page which addresses the Aplodontia and the issue of sensible
control very nicely. What I didn't know was that it was illegal to capture
then release them other than on the property where they were captured in the
first place which seems kind of counter productive especially in a small
urban setting.

The guy who was beside himself in desperation at the flower & garden show
sounded like he had it really bad with his whole house and property up on the
Sammamish Plateau somewhere starting to be swallowed up in the warren below,
and like me, we were both drawn simultaneously to one booth I'd never seen
before, one for some new (and expensive, $99) percussive gadget called "molecat"
for moles using an explosive triggered by the mole itself, ...think IED for
moles (good lord!). Both of us were thinking of maybe something bigger was
in order for Mountain Beavers, ...like something in the order of a small
neighborhood nuclear device, ...think mushroom cloud, ...oops, sorry :-)) Oh
well, I think I'll just manage the cute little beasties as best I can, they are
pretty cool, and maybe try some of the WDFW tips.

See: _WDFW -- Living with Wildlife_

Richard Rowlett

Kelly McAllister writes:

During my last couple of years as a District Wildlife Biologist, I got quite
interested in sick Eastern Gray Squirrels, mainly because it was being
fairly frequently but also because I was concerned it might be transmissable
Western Gray Squirrels. There are at least to diseases that produce
encephalitic conditions and similar symptoms, loss of balance, lethargy. The
squirrels fall out of trees, tip over, that kind of thing. Then they die.
of the diseases that was diagnosed in squirrels from Thurston County was
Yersinosis, or pseudo tuberculosis. The other is the round worm,
To me, it seems possible that one of these diseases may be having severe
consequences, in local areas, particularly if other stressors are affecting
condition of the squirrels, perhaps food shortage.

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