Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Scoop! of Campus Chaos: Squirrels Continue to Terrorize Hallowed Halls of Academia

The Alameda Daily Noose and I were thrilled that Right-Thinking Alamedan Herb Albert has once again taken time out from his busy touring schedule with his Tijuana Brass Band to send us the following "Gee mail" dispatch from the Collegiate Front of the Global War on Squirrels:

From: marc albert
Sent: Tuesday, November 25, 2008 10:20 AM
To: Roger Grumbel
Subject: UC Eggheads join Global War on Squirrels

UC Davis under the Iron Heel of relentless organized squirrel attacks...Squirrels have attacked campus food supplies, and staged damaging suicide attacks against command and control centers by sabotaging electrical power systems. Wake UP America!


"In seven years, we went from having no eastern fox squirrels on the campus to having more than 400, and there is currently no sign that their reproduction is slowing down," Krause said this week.

"This is an introduced species that has demonstrated elsewhere that it is prolific, adaptable, invasive and problematic for many reasons."

Krause, who earned a bachelor of science degree in natural resources at Cornell University (another campus well-populated with tree squirrels), said the squirrels' impacts could include:

* Injuries to people: More and more eastern fox squirrels are approaching students on the Quad and at Lake Spafford. No one here has been hurt yet. But in other communities, squirrels have become aggressive food-snatchers, especially from children, and people have been scratched and bitten.

* Competition with native plants and animals: Eastern fox squirrels eat the same foods, such as oak acorns, as native gray squirrels and native birds. Fox squirrels also eat bird eggs and baby birds.

* Damage to teaching plant collections: For example, fox squirrels have begun chewing the bark of redwood trees in the UC Davis Arboretum. Bark damage can weaken and even kill a tree.

* Damage to campus facilities: Fox squirrels have entered campus buildings. Like rats, they have an affinity for chewing on electric wires. On other university campuses, they have crashed the power supply.

The Alameda Daily Noose and I can only hope that the College of Alameda will take this lesson to heart, and start treating the Sciurine Threat seriously. Certainly, it makes little difference whether the various Squirrel factions such as "fox" and "gray" compete with each other for the same resources, and they are all welcome to damage each other's strategic tree outposts as much as they please, but the other trends mentioned in this dispatch are alarming.

Note that the Squirrels seem to concentrate their destructive effort on the young of whatever species they target, for example, snatching food "especially from children." The Alameda Daily Noose and I fear that it may not end there. We were particularly disturbed by the reference to Squirrels having developed a taste for eggs, and even baby birds. Today, it may be baby birds, but before we know it, it could be baby humans!

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