Friday, July 9, 2010

Know thy quarry

Believe it or not, I have researched squirrels. I have read books about them (yes, their are books about squirrels).

I have studied how to track them on soft earth and snow. I've tried to learn their habits, though they can be unpredictable. It is important to understand the animals that you hunt.

Apparently, I'm not the only one with a twisted sense of curiosity.

This is an article from the New York Times:

You don’t get to be one of the most widely disseminated mammals in the world — equally at home in the woods, a suburban backyard or any city “green space” bigger than a mousepad — if you’re crushed by every Acme anvil that happens to drop your way.

“When people call me squirrely,” said John L. Koprowski, a squirrel expert and professor of wildlife conservation and management at the University of Arizona, “I am flattered by the term.”

The Eastern gray tree squirrel, or Sciurus carolinensis, has been so spectacularly successful that it is often considered a pest. The International Union for Conservation of Nature includes the squirrel on its list of the top 100 invasive species. The British and Italians hate gray squirrels for outcompeting their beloved native red squirrels. Manhattanites hate gray squirrels for reminding them of pigeons, and that goes for the black, brown and latte squirrel morphs, too.

Yet researchers who study gray squirrels argue that their subject is far more compelling than most people realize, and that behind the squirrel’s success lies a phenomenal elasticity of body, brain and behavior. Squirrels can leap a span 10 times the length of their body, roughly double what the best human long jumper can manage. They can rotate their ankles 180 degrees, and so keep a grip while climbing no matter which way they’re facing....

It's an interesting article on squirrels and squirrel behavior. Check it out.


Tovar said...

My uncle hunts squirrels a fair amount on Cape Cod. A while back he wrote a article about it, especially the use of dogs in that pursuit.

Doug said...

Cool. I need to get Gordon out more often. I need to get the hawks more used to him first though.