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

gneavoll at comcast.net gneavoll at comcast.net
Fri Mar 20 10:35:28 PDT 2009

I don't think I've heard a more obnoxious term, referring to any of our beautiful squirrel species, than "urban yard rat." (This is nothing against those who use the term. They simply are repeating what they've heard.) I thought at first the reference was to us humans. That, at least, would have fit.

George Neavoll
S.W. Portland

----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Pterodroma at aol.com
To: mcallisters4 at comcast.net, tweeters at u.washington.edu
Sent: Friday, March 20, 2009 8:37:46 AM GMT -08:00 US/Canada Pacific
Subject: [Tweeters] Re: Where'd all the urban yard rats go?

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 reported
fairly frequently but also because I was concerned it might be transmissable to
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. One
of the diseases that was diagnosed in squirrels from Thurston County was
Yersinosis, or pseudo tuberculosis. The other is the round worm, Baylisascaris.
To me, it seems possible that one of these diseases may be having severe
consequences, in local areas, particularly if other stressors are affecting the
condition of the squirrels, perhaps food shortage.

Feeling the pinch at the grocery store? Make dinner for $10 or less .
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