squirrel extermination

The Dual Nature of Squirrels as Pests and Pets

The dual nature of squirrels being pests and pets all at the same time has always been an issue among many people. For one thing, the increasing number of grey squirrels in some parts of the United States and in Europe has elicited strong support for their extermination in whichever way possible: hunting, poisoning, lethal trapping, etc. However, because of their attractive nature (chubby cheeks, furry tails, etc.) many people can't help but look at all these acts as acts against helpless animals, in the same way as hurting dogs and cats which are of course punishable by law. So, what happened is that some states allowed squirrel killings while some states make it a crime to hurt squirrels. These things strengthen the observation that we have established: squirrels will always have a dual nature; they are both pests and pets.

The Pest Identity

The conditions that define what pests are have been fluid these past few years. For example, some people have reached an agreement that pigeons are indeed pests; rats with wings they say. These people have agreed to label pigeons as such because of their destructive behavior in farms and even in some backyards. When animals reach a very big population, they will also consume more food and in most cases, since these animals are already in places where humans live, it cannot be avoided that they end up consuming what is meant for us. When mice, rats and pigeons eat and damage food that is intended for human consumption, they become pests. When they destroy human properties, they too become pests. Under these standards, squirrels can indeed be called pests.

Squirrels that come across human habitations will really have a hard time resisting the stuff that humans plant in their garden. In the wild, squirrels have an abundant supply of all the seeds, flowers, fruits and insects that they want, but in cities and towns, a human's garden is the only place where they can get this stuff. So, these critters end up eating tomatoes in the garden, or stealing chestnuts from backyard trees. They would also ravish flowers and eat the bulbs of the plants in the garden. They would dig into the landscaped yard and bury the food that they have collected there. All these acts are pestering humans, thus they become actual pests.

Squirrels do not just fall under the classification of pests because of their foraging behavior. Another thing that constitutes their pest nature is their way of destroying human properties. They would chew on the wooden past of the house to gain entry. Once inside, they will make the house their own jungle, urinating and excreting feces anywhere that suits them. As a result, the house will smell awfully and shredded materials will scatter on the attic floor. These animals will not stop from there; they will also make sounds that are both noisy and bothersome. They will make their presence obvious but they will give you a hard time catching them and sending them out; very pestering indeed.

Because of that, in some places people are encouraged to hunt squirrels in order to minimize their population. The squirrels are hunted for their meat too; some people even consider eating squirrel meat as ethical and right because it is their personal way of relieving the world from these pests. Some parade squirrel-fur clothing and bags in order to show their support to the clamor for squirrel control.

The Pet Identity

But what defines a pet? Of course, this can vary from one person to another since some might find Tarantulas cuddly while others would freak at the very mention of their name. However, no matter how diverse our definition of what a pet should be, we all agree on one thing: an animal which is tame and cute can be a pet, no questions asked. So, squirrels are pets right? They are tame animals, when you feed them, they will come to you, and they will not bite you or hurt you. They are cute, well who can resist their chubby cheeks? They even made it into the big screen (Alvin and the chipmunks) and were able to give the producers of the movie millions of dollars in return.

Their cuddliness does not stop there. Some towns are even naming their place as the home of this or that squirrel. For example, a handful of towns have made the white squirrel their official town mascot and system. Some market these squirrels to increase the tourism in their place. People are encouraged to touch the animal, to feed them and to care for them. Are these the very things that you do to loved pets?

In Arizona, more than two million dollars have been spent to make "bridges" for squirrels so that they can freely roam around without fear. Some towns would punish people who hurt squirrels whether by accident or not. For example, a certain cop was even punished after he sprayed pepper spray to a baby squirrel! All these things can only mean one thing, we love squirrels.


We can't really define squirrels as a pest or as a pet alone. These two identities have been associated with these animals for so long that it is almost very difficult to delineate between the two. Needless to say that we humans are fond of anything that is "beautiful" to look at. So, no matter how much damage squirrels will do to humans, we will still have rooms in our minds to think of these animals are simply rebelling pets. Well, it might be unfortunate for the mice and the rats to not have this duality in identity mainly because they are not as cute as squirrels. As for now, the best thing to do is to simply appreciate these animals for what they are. Fine, if these animals are really pestering you, go ahead and control them. But let those who enjoy keeping them as pets have their fill of satisfaction.
squirrel extermination