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Date: 19 January 2014

Today's Topic: The Best Squirrel Trap Ever!

Triggers: An email sent by a friend

My Grump: Damned if you do and damned if you don't

We all know squirrels, far from being the cute little ball of fluff portrayed by the Disney brigade, are a bloody pest beyond all reason or patience. I have 9 nesting boxes around the garden. I've had to reinforce the holes with wire mesh or plate steel because the little devils gnaw away the wood to enlarge the hole and get the eggs or the baby birds. Some even chew through the wood.

Not only that but they regularly chew through the plastic bird feeders to get to the contents and these too have had bean can metal cut and glued to the feeders in an effort to keep out the greedy little 'erberts. Anyway it's time to fight back.
Squirrel Trap
Two very effective traps which I whole heartedly endorse. And remember, if you think you're having a really bad day, it could be a lot worse! Take a look at this - ouch!

Some people I know built their own house; it was brand new, almost finished, and partially liveable in. One day they came home to find the fire brigade dousing down their smouldering wreck of a home. Apparently a squirrel had gotten into the roof space, made a nest, and promptly chewed through an electric cable, killing the squirrel and starting a huge blaze in the attic that quickly engulfed the whole house.

There's all kinds of stories of how the grey squirrel got into the UK, and frankly, I don't care how it got here. But I also wouldn't care if they all left. Some disease they carry has killed off the red squirrel and kept them confined to remote areas of the country. So much so, that few people in this country have ever seen our own red squirrel, except in a picture or on the internet. So just for you, please see below.
Another Squirrel Trap
Here's the thing: On the one hand, under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 it is illegal to release grey squirrels or to allow them to escape into the wild. Of course, you would have to set about trapping squirrels to ever come into conflict with this law. But assuming you do, what do you do next, kill them or release them? Beware, it is a trick question, your next move could get you in hot water with the crack pots at the RSPCA.

The Mail, on the 18th Jan 2014 ran this story: Gardener facing prosecution - for releasing squirrels into the wood.
Roy Hill, a 68-year-old former Welsh Guardsman, set up a cage to capture the troublesome pests that were preying on birds nesting in his garden. He then transported them to Mousehold Heath, near his home in Norwich, before releasing them into the wild. The next he knew he received a visit from an RSPCA inspector who scolded him for breaking the law and threatened to haul him into court.

The irony here is that under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, he could have taken a gun and shot them, or popped them into a sack and bashed their brains in with a shovel. Nice! Now, if you miss your instant kill mark and have to reload, or smash the wrong end because the damn thing is squirming around in the sack, that is taking too long and your local RSPCA bobby will again invite you to court with a summons.

Mr Hill got himself an official verbal warning and was told that if he did it again he could be prosecuted. Ray Elliot from Staffordshire, wasn't so lucky and was prosecuted under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 for drowning the squirrel he trapped in a water butt. You know, you can spend a small fortune on bird feed, feeders and nesting boxes, and encourage all manner of birds to nest in your garden, but if you champion them by looking out for them, you're up the creek.
Red Squirrel
Mr Elliot decided that drowning would be the most humane way to dispose of it, bearing in mind that it is now illegal to release it. I can see his point of view. Any other method of dispatch means blood. To many people blood means suffering and pain. But no, some nosey neighbour tipped off the RSPCA and bang, he was fined 1,500 and now has a criminal record. This was a landmark case which sets an important precedent, and could pave the way for hundreds of other prosecutions across the country.

That's going to make the RSPCA a few quid, but believe me, they won't be getting another cent out of me. I've had enough of their political posturing and wasting money on trying to get in the papers.

The RSPCA advice? Take them to a vet for a lethal injection, at a cost of around 30-70. Who the hell is going to pay to have them euthanised? Most people can put up with one, but when you've got a dozen of them, killing everything in sight, you can't blame people for wanting to do something about it.

I encourage the small birds to raise families in my garden because some of them are endangered, and I like to watch them in the trees and around the feeders. I have bull finches, yellow hammers, green finches, wood peckers, gold finches, pied wagtails, wrens, robins and lots more nesting all over the garden. I've even got a barn owl box and I don't want them taken as squirrel fodder.

Look, either these things are a bloody pest or they are fluffy little Tufty, which is it? Ironically, even the RSPCA could not re-release a grey squirrel into the wild. So take your caged animals and drop them off there. They apply the law so ridiculously, or try to ram their policies on animal rights into law by prosecuting everybody, let them deal with it. It seems they are quick to create their damned if you do and damned if you don't policies, they should be willing to cover the damage.

Blimey, I enjoyed this one. Till next time.

Please share your ideas below, thank you.

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