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Worth feeding squirrels peanuts if all they do is bury them?

Every morning before work, I've been throwing a few handfuls of peanuts out in my yard. Nothing's left when I come home so I figured I'm helping some birds or squirrels get through the winter. But today I put them out and noticed just one squirrel working feverishly to bury most of them. Aside from the colossal greed of this character, will he even find them again to eat? I hate to think of all those peanuts getting wasted.

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  1. Well, I dunno. When I put items in my pantry for later, I don't think it is a waste :)

    I don't think the squirrels have too many pantry options other than dirt.

    1. A study some time ago, ' researchers' buried 1000 individual peanuts, squirrels relocated 75 % of them. My wife and I would buy 50 lb. bags of peanuts, along with thistle, sunflower, fruit and nut mix,...Then one day we noticed a Norway rat come out from under the shed, grab a p-nut, back under the shed, then out again for another. Repeatedly, and often. Even after we stopped ALL food, a colony developed and took four years to eradicate. We first noticed no opossums, racoons, groundhogs,... After maintaining rat bait stations since then, the larger animals have since returned. Outside of a drought or heavy snow, squirrels 'colossal greed' will keep it from going hungry or starving, much like the pantry or refrigerator in most of our houses.

      12 Replies
      1. re: 3MTA3

        Very good point MTA, I would expect from your handle you know a few things about rats...and I agree that all precautions should be taken to prevent them from forming a colony. No nuts etc. and careful winter seasonal bird feeding only.
        Rat bait stations help, but I hate to add all that potential rat poison into the diet of raptors.

        1. re: Raffles

          Just out of curiosity, how does 'eat me' (backward) suggest knowledge of rats?

          1. re: ricepad

            Metropolitan Transit Authority....lots of subway rats!

            1. re: Raffles

              Ah...but I don't think the handle has anything to do with a transit authority...I could be wrong, but I've been coveting that exact license plate for years.

              1. re: Raffles

                I heard NYC has more rats than people and they have quite a few people. .

                1. re: Tom34

                  Wherever you have people you have mice and rats. People are messy, and rodents are smart. They know a good thing when they see it!

          2. re: 3MTA3

            "Tree Rats"

            Squirrel are amazing, aren't they?

            I don't think they need our (human) help for survival. Kind of like feeding cockroaches.

            1. re: pedalfaster

              The tree rats are on the ground under our feeder now, first all winter, we have a hard crust on the snow now and the digging of all the hickory and acorns must be hard for them, but I figure they are cleaning up the dropped seeds before the ground rats move in.The surrounding farms must have rats....but a mile away to their barns...

              1. re: Raffles

                It is the circle of life at my house.
                Feed the birds, attract the squirrels and various rodents, the rodents eat my chicken feed, the chickens attract the hawks, the hawks and coyotes eat the rodents but they go after my chickens, cats and pets....and I go after them when they do.
                Never ending. Moral of the story...don't feed the wildlife ;)

              2. re: pedalfaster

                LOL but true.

                While I love squirrels, they ,to me, have become more of a nuisance than a gift.

                I trap and relocate if possible.

                Trap and shoot if necessary.

                Have a squirrel family (or families) chew into your wood soffits of your home and live there rent free (or in eaves or/ and roof vents) and price out repairs and get back to me.

                In one property, the squirrels chewed thru the downspout soffit to make a home only to be kicked out by raccoons.

                Ever deal with raccoons and thier elevated latrines? It means doing #1 and #2 in your gutters and on your rooftop along with the fat-assed notcturnal bumblings that they do in the middle of the night in you house eaves if living there.

                Nature loves to take back it's turf.
                Squirrels need no help from me.
                And again--I do like them when I;m not providing free shelter for them. LOLZ.

                But as mentioned here, they DO find what they bury or lose --eventually. Just like my GF and her car keys. :-)

                1. re: jjjrfoodie

                  The tails make great fishing lures for catching native brook trout, many recipes here on CH.

                2. re: pedalfaster

                  Local newspaper columnist refers to squirrels as "rats with a good publicity agent".

              3. Put the peanuts out with some Post It notes ;)
                Actually, I stopped giving the squirrels shell peanuts because they were burying them in our neighbors' yards.

                2 Replies
                1. re: monavano

                  Or buy them a teeny tiny stand alone outdoor pantry?

                  1. re: sedimental

                    Ha! With a picture of a really fat squirrel taped the front!

                2. The squirrel who buries the peanut may not be the one who finds it but SOMETHING will find and eat it. Isn't the ground frozen? If so, they're probably covering their cache with leaves and thatch, easy for them to locate.

                  Blue jays will open and eat peanuts.

                  I have a few tricks to keep the squirrels occupied so they don't monopolize the hanging feeders while the birds go hungry. When daily highs are below 32F, I put nuts into an ice-cube tray, top up with water, and freeze. Ditto empty milk cartons, peeling off the waxed cardboard when solid. Even better if you melt peanut butter in hot water, letting it cool to room temp before using it to top off the nuts before freezing. Toss outside.

                  1. As the saying goes, even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while.

                    1. DON"T DO IT!!! PUT THE PEANUTS DOWN!

                      The last thing you ever want to do is welcome squirrels close to your house. Same with raccoons. They will rip a hole in your roof/siding and squat in your attic while doing further damage. DO NOT put food out for wildlife close to your house.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Bellachefa

                        *Raises hand about the siding- $500*
                        little bastards!

                        1. re: Bellachefa

                          And if you do put out food, don't do it too regularly. Clever animals will notice if they miss a meal, and have been known to come looking.

                        2. Don't feed wild mammals. Period. You do them no favors by feeding them.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Karl S

                            Amen! It's bad enough the local wildlife treats my garden as an all-you-can-eat buffet without attracting the flea and disease-ridden vermin. There's plenty of food out there in their environment, especially since the local oaks had a good crop of acorns this past year. Feeding them encourages them to lose their caution around humans: a couple of years ago the nearby town of Mountain View had problems with squirrels biting children: they had gotten so used to being fed that they literally lashed out when they didn't get any.

                            1. re: Karl S

                              Agree! I love wild animals, but let them be wild.

                              1. re: Karl S

                                Not only are you doing them no favor, in a lot of jurisdictions it is highly unlawful to feed wildlife. Fed bears are dead bears as they loose their fear of humans and that gets them put down.

                              2. We stopped feeding birds in our last house because squirrels became such a nuisance. Our deck became the squirrels' breeding ground. What a racket and nuisance! We left vinyl wrapped lawn chairs on our deck and later discovered the strapping chewed through in places.

                                I won't feed anything in my current house. The wildlife will have to forage on their own.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: sueatmo

                                  I've widdled down my bird feeders a lot because of squirrel. I have one on a second floor window that squirrels can't get to. It's the only window in the house that is safe.

                                  1. re: monavano

                                    Have you tried mixing the seed with a generous amount of cayenne or bird pepper? Birds can't taste the heat, but squirrels, like humans, can.

                                    1. re: Ulyyf

                                      I tried that last year and at first thought it might be working, but soon realized that if the local New England squirrels had a surname, it would be Squarrez, I hope that's not politically incorrect! Suffice it to say that the cayenne that aerosolized when I scooped the seed bothered ME a lot more than it did THEM.

                                2. I buy unsalted and shelled peanuts and the squirrels don't seem to bury as many as they would when I gave them shelled peanuts.

                                  I have 2 families of grey squirrels that will occasionally eat them out of my hand. I also have a few black squirrels and they are much harder to tame.

                                  My neighbor has 2 mature oak trees, plus his birdfeeders so the local tree rat population is very well fed.

                                  1. whether this is a good idea or not aside

                                    Yes - they will find them. The ability of animals (birds, squirrels, etc) to find the food they stock away is UNREAL and scientifically demonstrated over and over (as stated above). It is an unreal ability compared to our complete lack of ability in this area.

                                    (Woo hoo - comparative cognition degree applicable on Chowhound!!!!)

                                    1. In general animals like squirrels that cache food are so good at re-finding their caches that it can appear almost supernatural.

                                      One of the things that initially sparked my interests in rats of all kinds was the difference between the way that squirrels ate our backyard avocados, and the way the rats ate them. The squirrels would take two or three bites out of EVERY SINGLE fruit on the tree - whereas the rat would walk up and down the branches, pick his/her favorite, and then take that ONE fruit back to the den and consume the whole thing.

                                      Thirty plus years of living with pet rats has led me to admire them more than I have space to tell here. When they inherit the planet, as it seems too many humans are hellbent on making sure takes place, you are not ever going to find rat mothers throwing little rat babies ( even the babies of another rat mother) out the window or leaving them in a toilet or a dumpster because they were crying too loud or cramping their style. If you present a nursing rat mother with the babies of another rat in the colony (sometimes even outside of the colony) she will immediately start picking them up and pulling them into her nest and try to nurse them. Rat fathers have to be separated from the mothers and babies only because they keep trying to knock up the moms, not because they ever do any harm to the babies - even when the pups bite them in the ears or the nose or the balls, the fathers eagerly nuzzle and lick the little ones and feed them out of their own mouths. Would that more humans were like them.

                                      7 Replies
                                      1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                        Wow that is so interesting! I worked with a girl who is really into rats, her license plate even says RAT GIRL, but she never told me all this!

                                        1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                          Interesting about the avocados. I had a pet rat in collage and he was very smart. Knew his name, simple instructions, greeted different people differently according to his affection for them. Way better pet than those idiot hamsters.

                                          1. re: tcamp

                                            I know I shouldn't rag on hamsters because in principle I really like the whole order Rodentia - but yeah, I think rats are smarter than hamsters. Certainly in terms of recognizing their own names and remembering patterns, being able to realize that the human's foot, hand, shoulder and head with the mouth, etc. are all the same sentient being - rats are always able to figure this out and hamsters/gerbils generally don't. It's always a thrilling moment when you kind of see the light bulb go off on top of the rat's head as they realize that the toe they're biting is connected to the hand they love so much, that gives them food and pets them, and the friendly voice - that this massive thing is ALL THE SAME THING.

                                          2. re: ratgirlagogo

                                            Rats freed from a cage will free their companions BEFORE eating, even though that means less food to go around.

                                            1. re: Ulyyf

                                              interesting. did you learn that from the movie Willard?

                                              1. re: Bellachefa

                                                Bellachefa: this wasn't the exact study to which Ulyyf was referring, but it is well established that rats demonstrate altruistic behavior. here's just one example of many:


                                            2. Others have already listed potential issues with other animals (especially raccoons) and have mentioned that squirrels can actually/eventually find these caches of food but there is of course one more question:

                                              Do you find the peanuts are improving the flavor?

                                                1. I don't feed (grey) squirrels. They're invasive and push out other species like red squirrels and chipmunks.

                                                  I do however feed the chipmunks. and I don't really care what they do with the food so long as they, and not the squirrels have it.

                                                  21 Replies
                                                  1. re: Withnail42

                                                    In my yard, the chipmunks are food for the feral cats, to my dismay. And so it goes.....

                                                    1. re: Withnail42

                                                      When we moved into our 'cottage-in-the woods' we thought what a nice thing it was to watch the squirrels running here and there. So we started putting out nuts for them. This was in the spring. Next fall each night we began hearing scratching noises in the exterior wall in our bedroom.
                                                      One day when we came home from a weekend trip there was a hole in the ceiling near the exterior wall. There was squirrel poop all over the house!
                                                      I covered the hole but the scratching intensified.
                                                      Then another hole in the ceiling in the kitchen. Which I covered. Then another. Then they had figured out how to get into the kitchen via behind the stove.
                                                      We could be watching TV and see one run up the wall then fall and disappear behind the stove!
                                                      The noise in the wall drove us to sleep in the living room on an inflatable mattress.
                                                      Then a mamma bear and her one year old cub decided to sleep on top of the septic bed directly below our living room window. She liked to stand on her back legs and watch us through the window while we were watching TV sitting on the couch. Maybe she liked watching 'Downton Abbey' too. Then the mamma bear rampaged through our plastic green house destroying whatever tomatoes and bell peppers the raccoons hadn't taken. Then the baby bear crashed through the glass window in my workshop and rampaged around looking for God knows what. There are still claw marks on my workbench. One of the bears chewed on the garden hose till it was cut in half. I had carelessly left the water turned on at the hose bib and was just shutting the water on and off using the hose nozzle. When the hose was chewed through the water flowed out the hose until our well ran dry. Our neighbor said that the well had never ever run dry in forty years since it was drilled. Then a HUGE cow moose chased me across the lawn in my underwear. (Long story). I had to hide behind a tree until it wandered off. A flock of wild turkeys made sure our vegetable garden never produced anything but sprouts for their dining enjoyment.
                                                      I made one of those water bucket traps for the mice in the basement. The first night it was set there were fifteen drowned mice in it the next morning. That trap must have drowned two hundred mice and never put a dent in their population.
                                                      We left the GD 'cabin-in-the-woods' the next spring.
                                                      Don't feed the wildlife.
                                                      Moose photo to follow when I find it.

                                                      1. re: Puffin3

                                                        You should make a sequel to the Funny Farm movie with Chevy Chase, that is wild. We moved to "the country" around the time that movie came out, and we had some adventures, left quickly too; but nothing like you!

                                                        1. re: Puffin3

                                                          My mice are more talented than yours. I wanted to use the bucket to trap and relocate. Every morning, the bucket was empty or both the bait and mice. Clearly mine can fly! ;-)

                                                          1. re: Puffin3

                                                            This would make a great movie.

                                                            1. re: Puffin3

                                                              Thank you. I have printed and framed your post to remind me whenever I get romantic about living in the country.

                                                              1. re: Puffin3

                                                                I knew a lady who used to feed a bear every day. She then went on vacation for a week to visit some relatives and the bear ripped a hole right through the side of her house and trashed her kitchen. I believe it was Mr. Ranger who said, " Don't feed the bears".

                                                                1. re: Tom34


                                                                  Sad story -- she is convinced she's helping all the animals, and doesn't understand that the bear died because she helped it lose its fear of humans.

                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                    she's 80+ and possibly suffering from dementia and the solution is to jail her?

                                                                    am not saying you agree, sunshine, but this is wrong on too many levels.

                                                                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                      They jailed her because she has no family nearby, and they couldn't find a facility who could take her on short notice.

                                                                      They couldn't let her continue to feed "the crows" because of imminent danger to herself and others....and the bears.

                                                                      It was kind of "we don't know what else to do with her right now, but at least this will keep all of the involved organisms safe for right now".

                                                                      As in the article, her attorney was petitioning to get her released to her family up north, but since the story has dropped off of the local newsfeed, I don't know what's happened.

                                                                      Totally sad story on so many levels.

                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                        she's 80+ and in the jail's gen pop for possibly a month? that alone might kill her. i can't start the day this angry.

                                                                        1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                          as you can imagine, Florida is pretty sensitive to geriatric issues (to a point they seem to forget that other age groups exist from time to time).

                                                                          I'm pretty sure they didn't pitch her in the drunk tank to subsist on bread and water and sleeping on the floor --- we all know that news accounts and reality may or may not be the same thing.

                                                                          The only followup I could find is a bizarre addition -- apparently she's a retired P.E. teacher. Several of her former students are in the jail with her, and are taking care of her.

                                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                                            i lived and worked in florida many years ago.

                                                                            i also realize jail is not as dire as prison. however, i find it impossible to believe this was the only viable solution.

                                                                            1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                              I can only post what's posted.

                                                                              The judge's name and the attorney's names are there in the articles. Please contact them with your concerns.

                                                                              You're drawing a bead on the messenger -- a messenger who agrees with you that the whole thing is just very, very sad, by the way.

                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                no,no. i mentioned i am sure you agree this is totally wrong. no blame at your feet.

                                                                2. re: Puffin3

                                                                  how'd the moose come to be wearing your underwear?!

                                                                  1. re: Vidute

                                                                    Well, if you give a moose a muffin...

                                                                    1. re: Vidute

                                                                      I'd love to see some one 'photoshop' that image. LOL

                                                                    2. re: Puffin3

                                                                      PLEASE post photos! :-) That was a terrific tale!

                                                                  2. I feed the squirrels peanuts in the shell and I mostly see them eat them right away. Where I live the population of squirrels seems to be normal. The amount I feed them is not encouraging them in the least. I enjoy it , and so do they. Granted, I have not had any problems with them, so my thought process is that they were here long before us, and they will be here long after us, regardless of what we do. A funny story, I had been feeding them one summer and one day I came home to peanut shells all over the floor, I thought, well that is odd, why would my cats eat peanuts, I swear that is what I thought, until I saw the hole in my screen. I know now that the squirrels had caught on to the looks of the bag the peanuts came out of and had made a hole in the screen, came in, and helped themselves. The oddest thing is, that I have 4 cats who obviously just sat around and watched, seriously! Well, I replaced the screen and hid the bag of nuts and have never had a problem since.

                                                                    1. He'll come back to them, dig them up and eat them.


                                                                      My wife and I regularly serve our squirrels nuts (California raised, organic, raw almonds of course. Nothing but the best for our vermin!). We've done shell in peanuts too, and our neighbor found that a peanut plant was growing in one of her flower pots!

                                                                      1. When we lived in the Back Bay (Boston) DH and I would walk in the Public Garden every morning with our peanuts in our pockets, In the winter, especially, you could "call the squirrels" (clicking sound) and they'd come running. They eat out of your hand. In the summer there are always alot of tourists taking pictures of people feeding the squirrels. No harm to houses as they all live in the Garden.

                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Linda VH

                                                                          the squirrels that live in the public gardens and boston common are FAT FAT FAT from so many people feeding them all the damn day. more than once i have seen a tubby squirrel chase after somebody who didn't drop "enough" nuts for snacks.

                                                                          vile critters.

                                                                          they are rats with cuter outfits.

                                                                          1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                            maybe they should start binge feeding the geese so they can send the foie gras to california

                                                                            1. re: Bellachefa

                                                                              the fenway area is disgusting with goose poop. trying to take the stroll from the museums to kenmore one is faced with a fetid mess.

                                                                              i'd be completely fine with a controlled hunt in that neighb!

                                                                              1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                Also along the River. And then there are those damn white geese by the bridge.

                                                                                1. re: viperlush

                                                                                  Visit Bird Park in Walpole once, and you won't visit again without wellingtons and a powered outdoor hose at your house.

                                                                        2. Funniest post I've read today! Thanks for the laugh!

                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Isolda

                                                                            When I saw the moose I was alone in the cabin in my undies.
                                                                            I grabbed the camera and snuck out the door to get a photo. No one lived anywhere near so being out side half naked wasn't a worry. Anyway noticing the moose hadn't noticed me I went around back to sneak up on it for a better photo. In so doing I got myself cut off from retreating into the cabin. When she saw me she started running at me instead of away!
                                                                            Here she is checking me out.

                                                                            1. re: Puffin3

                                                                              Guess you made it? Nice healthy looking moose though.

                                                                              One time I was alone in our country house, watching the Kentucky Derby, and suddenly a neighbor's horse stuck his head in the kitchen window, like Mr Ed. Maybe he heard something familiar on the TV? I didn't know who he was at the time so it was a little freaky!

                                                                              1. re: coll

                                                                                That there is funny.
                                                                                Was he asking for the 'line'.

                                                                                1. re: coll

                                                                                  LOVE that story coll!

                                                                                  Plus, I'm a huge Mr. Ed fan...Wilbur.

                                                                                2. re: Puffin3

                                                                                  First rule of country living--do NOT sneak up on 700+ pound animals. Funny, funny, story though!

                                                                                  1. re: Puffin3

                                                                                    OMG. So funny! (& glad you made it through the ordeal safely!)

                                                                                3. i wouldn't characterize your savings account as "colossal greed" so, similarly, i wouldn't see the peanut stashing as being greedy. . . . .

                                                                                  1. Ducks are starving on the Great Lakes. Starving swans are on NYC streets begging for food. Disoriented birds in NY are crashing into buildings and into the streets, mistaking the ice for water. Environmental destruction and pollution have destroyed stopover points, preventing some migratory bird populations from leaving for the winter, and stressed some wildlife species to the point of endangering their survival. Add to this a hard winter, and suffering becomes death. IMO, the idea that wild animals don't need humans to provide food sources is outdated, not to mention hard-hearted.

                                                                                    25 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: greygarious

                                                                                      I have to say, I've never seen a swan walking down a NYC street just yet. Pigeons maybe?

                                                                                      But I will say, with all the snow we had this year, I was seeing robins all winter in my yard. Seems they stopped migrating? Not sure what they've been eating though.

                                                                                      1. re: coll

                                                                                        Here's the source: http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/...

                                                                                        I read this a few days ago and thought it mentioned Manhattan per se, which it did not, just New York City.

                                                                                        1. re: greygarious

                                                                                          There's nothing in that article to indicate that the swans are on the streets. I imagine they're in the parks, where they usually are.

                                                                                          1. re: small h

                                                                                            And here I was, imagining them walking down the sidewalk with little briefcases in their beaks!

                                                                                            1. re: coll

                                                                                              Well, those are the swans with office jobs. They're not starving.

                                                                                            2. re: small h

                                                                                              Either way, the point is that they are starving/freezing to death.

                                                                                              1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                I know, not meaning to poke fun at that. I do take care of the strays that "live" on my property best I can. Swans can live on vegetation, but my poor robins are meat eaters so I haven't been doing much with them. Not to say I haven't thought about it! Glad the snow is finally melting.

                                                                                          2. re: coll

                                                                                            NYS Dept.of Environmental Conservation had recently come up with a plan to eradicate most of the swans in NYS because they are considered an invasive. Public outcry has caused NYS DEC to reevaluate said plan.

                                                                                            1. re: Raffles

                                                                                              Here in MA, Canada Geese no longer migrate and are considered to have overpopulated, though most of the complaining seems to be from golfers. It's the amount of droppings rather than the birds themselves that people object to. The swans in the Boston Public Garden are taken away in the winter - I believe to the zoo but maybe some other animal reserve. It's a big media deal when they are returned to the pond in the Spring. So I don't know if wild swans overwinter here or not. I did not realize they were so numerous in NY state to be a problem, though I have seen them for decades when driving through Croton and environs.

                                                                                              Coll, when I saw a robin, several years ago, while the ground was still snow-covered, I called the Audubon Society to ask if there was anything I could put out for it to eat, and was told that lots of robins stay here in winter, and eat seeds. I now own a Peterson guide to feeder birds. For robins, it says apples and mealworms.

                                                                                              1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                The goose droppings are a big problem.
                                                                                                Swans out compete native waterfowl in many areas.\
                                                                                                Robins also like suet....we but some commercial products,and also save all our raw fat trimmings from beef, pork, and lamb...and if I am lucky,venison. We only feed in the winter because of bears....

                                                                                                1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                  I know its heartbreaking but most wildlife officials seem to suggest not feeding wildlife. Extreme weather swings are but one of natures ways of thinning populations and promoting the idea that the healthiest of a given species survive which in the long run is in the best interest of the species.

                                                                                                  1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                    If I bought into that one entirely, I wouldn't believe livestock, pets, or people should be vaccinated, or that people born with birth defects should receive special care to allow them to live, or that disabled/elderly people had a right to accessibility accommodations. Nor would I approve of sending food, medical supplies, and other provisions to the victims of war and natural disasters.

                                                                                                    1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                      But But But,,It is all about the children,,,which we have plenty of.....resources are dwindling...where to draw the line... read this quickly...about to be censored...humans are the worst thing that ever happened to the planet earth, we know better and continue to mess up with our interventions to make things better....suck the planet dry...

                                                                                                      1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                        c'mon. you're comparing caring for the elderly to feeding squirrels?

                                                                                                        1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                                          not the elderly...just the species as a whole.. we discriminate with livestock big time...think globally...everybody dies...

                                                                                                          1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                                            You've missed the first word: IF. The strict interpretation of natural selection Tom34 describes, carried to its logical conclusion, would preclude human intervention on behalf of individuals and species, including Homo sapiens. I was not signing on to that, just pointing out that humans draw lines at different points in that theory.

                                                                                                          2. re: greygarious

                                                                                                            There are years of science behind not feeding wildlife.

                                                                                                            Years ago we had a house in a large gated community in the Poconos (PA). We had several herds of deer that many homeowners fed. 100 lb bags of feed corn were cheap. In the winter, the older females with bad teeth and rib bones showing would eat right out of my hand.

                                                                                                            A Ranger came to the clubhouse to give a lecture about feeding bears (a diff problem) and he also covered feeding deer. He explained that during the winter older deer quickly perish once their teeth go bad. By feeding the older deer, we were extending their lives in a weakened condition which leaves them more vulnerable to disease which could spread to the rest of the herd and the entire region.

                                                                                                            The ranger also reminded us that after the deer eat, all the other animals come for the leftovers. Squirrels, rats, raccoon, chipmunks, mice, birds and countless other critters. Since all are eating the same food at the same location on a regular basis (unnatural) , all it takes is one sick animal to infect multiple species throughout an entire region.

                                                                                                        2. re: greygarious

                                                                                                          What I know about robins is from finding a tiny baby many years ago and not being able to return it to its nest way up in an oak tree. Lots of feral cats. I was feeding it bread because I was young and stupid, but finally called a wildlife place and they said they are totally carnivorous. I guess they could live on grain for awhile though. They said chop meat, but we loved him and fed him filet mignon believe it or not. He did well and eventually migrated, at least we think so. He was a pip.

                                                                                                          1. re: coll

                                                                                                            Feral and loose house cats are a huge problem with song birds....

                                                                                                          2. re: greygarious

                                                                                                            Yup, Romeo and Juliet winter over at Franklin Park Zoo.

                                                                                                            1. re: viperlush

                                                                                                              of course, we did discover that it's actually juliet and juliet. :)

                                                                                                              1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                                                I'd forgotten that part! Fitting, since we're the first state to legalize same-sex marriage ;-).

                                                                                                      2. re: greygarious

                                                                                                        Ducks, swans and geese are not stressed species as species. If anything, they are overabundant species that are squeezing out more vulnerable species.

                                                                                                        Interestingly, my brother was surveying the waterfowl along the southern shores of Lake Ontario 10 days ago, when the lake was >60% frozen (very rare event for that lake), and yes there were frozen dead ducks in the banks of snow-ice along the shore (interestingly, not yet eaten by predatory species) but there were plenty of waterfowl of all types in the waters. For the survivors, these will be good times, because they will have less competition.

                                                                                                        1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                          The carrion eaters will find the dead, if any are around...and prosper for another cycle....

                                                                                                      3. Throw some my way..........I'm just a squirre trying to get a nut........

                                                                                                        1. Peanuts aren't terribly healthy for squirrels. It's like giving them chips. A few won't matter, but when everybody gives them the same thing...!

                                                                                                          Try giving them dried and fresh fruit, other types of nuts, even hardboiled eggs cut up. Tastes differ, just like with people. The squirrels around here devour avocado, raisins, and apple slices, and will sometimes eat grapes and peaches, but throw bananas right to the ground.

                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                          1. re: Ulyyf

                                                                                                            oh heck, then the dang squirrel will be eating better than i am! ;-).

                                                                                                          2. Four years ago, we had a very cold, icy, snowy winter. much like this one, but I digress. I have a very small, wooden-fenced yard/patio, it's very sheltered. During that cold, miserable, deep-snow february, a little rabbit started appearing in my yard at night. All hunched up, obviously seeking shelter, cold and as unhappy looking as a rabbit can look. I felt sorry for him/her, and started leaving root vegetables out every day. It ate them.

                                                                                                            In the spring, I planted flowers and vegetables. The damn rabbit ate every single plant. I planted them again. Rabbit ate them. Rabbit also ate the plants in pots on my front porch. I don't feed rabbits anymore.

                                                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: Bellachefa

                                                                                                                The Shakers took such things for granted. They planted three times what they needed, which allowed for wildlife, and needy neighbors, to take what *they* needed. No ill will that way.

                                                                                                                1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                  grey - it really is to bad they had that troublesome no sex and procreation rule. we coulda used more of their sort around these days.

                                                                                                              2. re: Teague

                                                                                                                Next cold, icy, snowy winter think of this, rabbit stew!

                                                                                                                1. re: Teague

                                                                                                                  He thought you were friends and planted the garden just for him!

                                                                                                                  1. re: coll

                                                                                                                    I'm sure he did. I still like rabbits, and squirrels, and chipmunks - just not in my garden!

                                                                                                                2. sure he'll find them again. he uses post-it notes.

                                                                                                                  1. So to my more Southern posters, do all those buried peanuts ever grow into Peanut bushes?

                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                    1. re: Raffles

                                                                                                                      roasted peanuts -- sort of doubt they'd germinate. ;-).

                                                                                                                    2. Here's a recent tweet from Richard Dawkins pertaining to the subject.


                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: ebchower

                                                                                                                        his two sentences are non sequitur. plus, how does he know squirrels don't retrieve? just sayin'.

                                                                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                          I remember lessons from grade school at least partially attributing growth of forests to squirrels not retrieving acorns/walnuts/pecans/etc.

                                                                                                                          They effectively plant new trees when they don't dig up the nuts that they've stored

                                                                                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                            oh, those are the rural farmer squirrels. they get u.s. subsidies.

                                                                                                                      2. this is why I only arrange a few Spanish PiƱon interspersed with (yeah it's out of season and imported I admit) radicchio adorned with dabs of Manchego and balsamic along the deck rail.

                                                                                                                        those poor little buggers damn well better appreciate it as that's all they're getting for quite a while lemme tell you.

                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                          why don't you give them the ones from china so they get "pine nut mouth" and stop getting on your deck?

                                                                                                                          1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                                                            sorry I'm cranky on this subject, my parents obsessively feed the birds (mostly seed, some nectar) and then gripe for hours about the feathereds greedy audacity.

                                                                                                                            gun. (my) head. trigger.

                                                                                                                            1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                                                              hotoynoodle, you, sir or madam, are brilliant!

                                                                                                                          2. Yesterday I watched a rabbit eat my back yard. I thru a carrot at it. It froze for 10 minutes and then went back to eating our lawn.

                                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: Bellachefa

                                                                                                                              They eat carrots in the cartoons---in real life they prefer fresh greens.

                                                                                                                              1. re: NVJims

                                                                                                                                yes, half the grass is gone, and the carrot is still there!

                                                                                                                                1. re: Bellachefa

                                                                                                                                  you'd have been better off if you had aimed the carrot AT the rabbit. LOL.

                                                                                                                                  the rabbit? not so much.

                                                                                                                                2. re: NVJims

                                                                                                                                  The bunny ate the carrot. Just wanted it to age a bit. And yes I threw the carrot at the bunny last week. Waskilly Wabbit

                                                                                                                                  1. re: NVJims

                                                                                                                                    except for the one rabbit in my back yard that prefers pretzel rods.

                                                                                                                                3. On a sort of related note, I had a friend once that had a pecan tree. A squirrel had been gathering the pecans and behind his tool shed made a large (and i mean large) pile of pecans. My friend took most of the pecans for himself, leaving a small pile, easily justifying stealing from the squirrel because, as he said "the squirrel was stealing from him, and he couldn't eat all those pecans anyway".

                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                  1. re: TroyTempest

                                                                                                                                    squirrels are quite aware of the feudal nature of their tenancy. LOL.

                                                                                                                                    he'd probably already sold some on the black market anyhow. win-win.

                                                                                                                                    1. they also seem fond of pistachios (domestic is fine)

                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                        good grief, i'm coming over to dig around in your yard! (and grow a bushy tail). pistachios!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                          HA! sorry Alka, but I don't live anywhere near you any more.

                                                                                                                                          that was in DC, now I feed the squirrels a paw-harvested and self-stored diet of organic old growth acorns. it's like a 'pick your own apple' place but for arboreal rodents.

                                                                                                                                      2. Wellll... if you give them the peanuts they have the right to bury them! If I give you a house and you burn it down I wont care its your property and I wont start a big discussion about it! Good day and Good night.

                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                        1. re: DrMathew

                                                                                                                                          Funniest post today, thanks for the laugh!