Posted by 40 year Palo Alto Gardener, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Jul 24, 2012 at 10:29 am
Remember, it is against the law to live trap squirrels and then release them elsewhere. It is within the law to dispatch them in your yard, though. Submerging the trap in a water filled garbage can will work, but a far less "hands on" approach would be to use one of the new electric rat traps now on the market. They carry enough power to handle a squirrel, and IMO its far more humane.
Posted by 40 year Palo Alto Gardener, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Jul 24, 2012 at 11:13 am
More humane would mean a quicker death than drowning. I didn't say it was the most humane. The MOST humane would be to do nothing, or maybe feed them, but that would be counter productive to the goal of protecting my family and my garden. I stand firmly and proudly by what I posted. Nothing I posted is against the law so if my values don't jibe with yours, you'll just have to deal with that on your end. When pests become a problem that cannot be removed by non lethal means, I chose to place the value of my family's health and my property over the life of a squirrel.
I think you may be suffering from "Selective sympathy" for some animals, but maybe not all. Do you let termites live in your house or do you gas them? I'm sure someone would tell you you should be ashamed for ridding your house of termites.
Posted by once a gardener, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jul 24, 2012 at 12:04 pm
As a gardener myself, I'm not very sympathetic about the squirrels, either. They are worse pests than anything else I can think of. They don't just glean a portion of food from a garden, their practice is wholesale destruction. They pick, take a tiny bite, then throw whatever it is on the ground and move to the next. A squirrel or two can lay waste to a huge almond tree and its harvest in an afternoon or two. Not to eat themselves, they just ruin all of it and throw most of it on the ground.
Posted by A Noun Ea Mus, a resident of the Professorville neighborhood, on Jul 24, 2012 at 12:15 pm
I'm not a big moralistic "never kill any animals" type guy. Rats in the house, insects running amuck inside, sure.
But squirrels outside? To protect an outside garden in Palo Alto would require Auschwitz type extermination of squirrels. To protect your family? Are squirrels ganging up on people's kids like the tiny dinosaurs in the opening scene of the first Jurassic Park movie?
Are you referring to the fact that squirrels can carry disease? If that's the standard why not setup a 50 caliber machine gun in your yard and blast away at all the birds (bird ful, nile virus, etc.) as well as any other form of wildlife. And incinerate everything to blast away at the insects. My old girlfriend used to work for US Forest Service up in the sierra's. Every so often a dead squirrel would be sent to some lab. Two months later (after summer season almost ended) the result might come back as them having the plague. So place belatedly closed.
Death to Deer Mice! (hanta virus)
And citizens just taking it upon themselves to wipe out "their" rodent populations would probably only help to spread any disease present in the rodent population.
Model explains bubonic plague's persistence
By John Travis
October 21st, 2000; Vol.158 #17
"Past efforts to model bubonic plague treated it as primarily a human disease, which is inappropriate, says Keeling. "It's a rodent disease that occasionally infects humans," he explains. The fleas that transmit the plague feed upon people only when the disease wipes out so many rats that the insects turn to another food source."
"If you ever got an outbreak in a large city in the developed world, there would probably be a strong public opinion wanting to kill the rodents, which isn't an effective strategy," says Keeling. "This will just release many infected fleas." That could worsen a human epidemic. So, Keeling suggests that insecticides are a more appropriate response once bubonic plague appears in people."
Posted by Skeptical, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jul 24, 2012 at 1:07 pm
@ "A Noun Ea Mus" and the Rodent Rambo notion:
I have heard the kind of argument contained in your snippets from Travis' article many times (e.g., with respect to Ticks and Deer or mice). They can be a bit misleading however. Longer-term studies tend to show that reducing the population of the primary host (rodents in your example) may result in modest levels of host switching (e.g., to humans in your example), but longer term results in proportional reductions in the vector (fleas in your case), and also the disease. The reason is because the new host is typically not a very effective host, and this strongly interferes with the reproduction of the vector...but this may take a year or two to see, depending of the reproductive lifecycle time of the vector.
Posted by Cur Mudgeon, a resident of the Greenmeadow neighborhood, on Jul 24, 2012 at 1:44 pm
Roof rats and squirrels, equally destructive in your fruit trees and veggie garden. Rats eat oranges--don't think squirrels do. But it is appalling to only have a fraction of your summer fruit survive as fit for human consumption.
Posted by Gardener Too, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Jul 24, 2012 at 3:15 pm
My neighbor uses a pellet gun but not sure of the legalities w/ that one. Arrows? Seems a bit odd, but maybe. Poison, blunt force, all OK if that's your preference. Essentially, any method you would use to kill a rat is OK to kill a squirrel with. What you CANNOT do is trap it and release it elsewhere. With squirrels, I've found that removal of one or two of the "problem" rodents will usually take care of the destruction.
Posted by musical, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Jul 24, 2012 at 7:53 pm
In addition to air guns, the Palo Alto definition of "firearm" includes weapons that fire "by means of elastic force" which would cover arrows, slingshots, and rubber bands. Here's the leading section in its entirety, followed by the applicable exception. Is there even one person in Palo Alto with such a permit? Can we see a listing?
PA Municipal Code 9.08.010 Firing and possession of guns and firearms
Except as otherwise provided in this chapter no person shall have in his possession within this city, and no person shall fire or discharge, or cause to be fired or discharged within this city, nor shall any parent, guardian or person having the care, custody or control of any minor permit such minor to have in his possession within this city, or to fire or discharge or cause to be fired or discharged within the city, any firearm, cannon, fireworks, gun, pistol, revolver, anvil, firecracker or explosive of similar nature, rifle, air rifle, air-gun, BB gun or pellet gun or any instrument of any kind, character or description which throws or projects bullets or missiles of any kind to any distance by means of elastic force, air or any explosive substance, all referred to in this section as "firearms."
(6) To the use of a gun firing .22 caliber shot-cartridge only, upon a written permit applied for and granted by the chief of police to protect life or property against animals, birds or rodents;