Monday, April 2, 2007

live trapping

After yesterday's post, Jim appears to be concerned that live trapping be accurately described. Hence the following comments that I received today:

Didn't anticipate the pix of the red squirrel in the trap being offered to your 'blog'ites' but this does serve a reasonable and humane purpose by making others aware that doing something like this as a control option is fairly simple and would seem to save both the wildlife and the environment from some of the more inhumane options you or they might have been considering. (Though I'm also sure that the DNR has rather insular views on all such practices and I'm in no way certain this option is even legal. I am fairly certain the squirrels will concur on preferring this alternative, however.) Hence at my own legal risk, two additional pix are being included with this email if only to show that I'm an equal opportunity squirrel exporter from my wooded yard prior to the Spring bird migration. One ultimately has to take sides on these things and act on their own.

Also thought I should mention that these traps are simple and cheap, but have to be closely monitored if one wishes to do something like this humanely. Squirrels are pretty high strung little animals and will literally knock their heads against the sides and corners of the trap to the point of doing serious damage to themselves. If left alone in such captivity they will destroy themselves long before they might eventually starve. Regrettably there is more than one way to be cruel.

From my own experience, I'd recommend that one first observe their own squirrel's local habits so you know when it is likely that you will catch them. Then, after setting the trap, you should check it at least every 15 minutes or so. They are pretty cagey little creatures and you have to be at least as smart as they are to gain the upper hand. Then, once they are inside the trap you can handle them quite safely and they seem to actually like riding around in cars, which seems to make them quiet down in a state of wonder. To release the animal, the trap pictured (built by the 'HaveaHeart' company and costing around $20 at Fleet Farm and the main 'Great White Hunter' outlets) allows the user to stay completely behind the front opening and easily lift the door. The squirrel catches on to any opportunity to escape pretty quickly and disappears in a flash, especially if you let it go nearby a grove of trees... red squirrels preferring evergreens and their larger gray cousins leaning more toward large deciduous trunks they can instantly hide behind.