They just are

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Last updated on July 16th, 2017 at 09:37 am

Wherever one stands on the issue of red squirrels v. gray squirrels, it’s difficult to disagree with this elemental gray squirrel truth:

They are simply better at the job of being squirrels.

Please keep comments civilised; the last time this fraught matter came up, we got slammed by Media Watch and two commenters were sent to trial at The Hague.

(Via Rich Stadnik)

Posted by Tim B. on 10/07/2007 at 08:47 AM
    1. Tim,

      If you really wanted the minions here to refrain from saying anything that could get them in trouble with Media Watch, you shouldn’t say refrain from saying anything that could get you in trouble with Media Watch.  Now they’ll be coming out of the hills waiting for their turn at the microphone.

      Besides, you should know how we are with the subject of squirrels.

      Posted by wronwright on 2007 10 07 at 09:09 AM • permalink


    1. Mmmm… Brunswick Stew

      Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 2007 10 07 at 09:09 AM • permalink


    1. So, “Deliberately killing a red squirrel or disturbing its nest, called a drey, is a crime,” while killing Native Americans is actively encouraged?  Not only is this highly questionable on moral grounds, it is perhaps indicative of differences in the two societies: meritocracy versus ancestor worship.  In America newcomers who work hard and succeed are celebrated; in Britain it appears that such hardworking successful on merits newcomers are to be crushed in favor those with the right historical connections.

      Posted by Larry G on 2007 10 07 at 09:19 AM • permalink


    1. What do squirrels and David Marr have in common? They’re both into nuts.

      Posted by Nic on 2007 10 07 at 09:24 AM • permalink


    1. Here in the US we also have black squirrels.
      Why don’t you talk about the black squirrels?
      Why are you holding down the black squirrel?

      Posted by harrison on 2007 10 07 at 09:27 AM • permalink


    1. I always liked gray squirrels better. I think it started when one bit my sister.

      Posted by Ash_ on 2007 10 07 at 09:32 AM • permalink


    1. I recommend coloful American poison ivy for its fall brilliance.  Make Britain a less dreary place!

      All Britain has now is wearisome nettle and red squirrels.

      Posted by rhhardin on 2007 10 07 at 09:33 AM • permalink


    1. What’s this smashing squirrels over the head, by the way.  Doesn’t anybody have a .22 over there?

      There’s more to life than pulling wings off of flies.

      Posted by rhhardin on 2007 10 07 at 09:35 AM • permalink


    1. I see that the British upper classes have replaced the banned foxhunting with grey squirrel hunting, an activity that is kindly being funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

      Then there’s “Sue Southworth … holding a meeting in her home in Cockermouth” and that’s all I’m going to say about that.

      Posted by Crossie on 2007 10 07 at 09:41 AM • permalink


    1. “Redesdale … was seated on a couch with a red-squirrel throw.”

      Aha, the grey squirrels were simply filling the empty habitats left by the slaughter of red squirrels in order to make couch throws.

      Posted by Crossie on 2007 10 07 at 09:53 AM • permalink


    1. When I was young, and it was not unPC to let pre-teen children (under adult supervision) learn about firearms, the teachers at my boarding school used to take the children out squirrel-shooting. Only the greys though, the reds were left strictly alone.

      It was a very old-fashioned school, even for 1968.

      The world has changed, and such pastimes, along with the red squirrel in those areas, are now extinct, as is the school itself.

      I can’t say the UK has been improved by any of those occurrences.

      Posted by Zoe Brain on 2007 10 07 at 09:54 AM • permalink


    1. Andrea, after perusal of that recipe, I now fur-vently want Brunswick Stew.

      Posted by Ash_ on 2007 10 07 at 09:58 AM • permalink


    1. Ahh, more American hedgemony. If I may make a suggestion.

      1.  Start with a bait pile of shelled corn.
      2.  Add a youngster in the 9 – 12 yr. range with a 22. rifle.
      3.  Shoot grey squirrels in the head as they come to feed on the corn.
      4.  Repeat as needed across England.
      This process has several benefits. Young people develop some appreciation of firearm handling and safety. Squirrel populations are reduced. Food is procured in the traditional manner. And Britons , at least some of the younger ones, get the opportunity to Harden The F%ck Up. As one of you Aussies so gloriously put it.

      Posted by greene on 2007 10 07 at 09:58 AM • permalink


    1. Fuck the Red Squirrel! Fuck-it I say!

      I have no sympathy for no free-loading, low skills, socialist loving, limey promoted fur-ball.

      Long live the American invader!

      Payback for the freaking English Ivy that is taking over my back yard.

      Posted by joe bagadonuts on 2007 10 07 at 10:16 AM • permalink


    1. I think the key solution to the gray squirrel problem in Britain is simple.  Please note this key piece of evidence (emphasis is mine):

      They spread quickly. By 1910, they were spotted in Woburn, about 50 miles to the northwest of London, and they reached Wales, 150 miles away, by the mid-1920s. Few Britons were pleased, but little was done about the problem. It was the more numerous native red squirrel that was in the rifle sights of the time. In the early decades of the century, for instance, a hunting association called the Highland Squirrel Club killed 82,000 red squirrels, in part to protect the timber industry. (Squirrels damage trees by stripping off the bark.)

      The solution (alluded to by rhhardin earlier) is to permit gun ownership and hunting in England once again.  This will allow a significant blow against the imperialistic American gray squirrels, and give the kindler, gentler British red squirrels a chance to recover their native lands.

      Think of it as the American Revolution in reverse, with the decisive battles being fought in England against the occupation forces of the American Army.  All those anti-American types in Britain will be clamoring to join the ranks of the Red Army.

      Er, I meant Red Squirrel Army, and American Squirrel Army, of course.

      Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 2007 10 07 at 10:20 AM • permalink


    1. But over time the red squirrel became beloved in Britain. It supplanted the realm’s old icon, the lion, as the symbol of a gentler, more evolved nation.

      Explains a lot, really.

      Posted by SandiM on 2007 10 07 at 10:41 AM • permalink


    1. gray squirrels, an American import, have been overtaking Britain’s native red squirrels and claiming their territory. The grays have moved up from the south of England, thinning out the reds along the way.

      OMG, what a perfect analogy for free market principles pervading the UK in the last 25 years. I wonder if the grey squirrels have a matriarch named Thatcher the Squirrel?

      Posted by Shaky Barnes on 2007 10 07 at 11:14 AM • permalink


    1. I have a photo of a black squirrel and that’s all the squirrel color I have. Am I racist?

      Posted by filcan on 2007 10 07 at 11:31 AM • permalink


    1. That is one cool squirrel Filcan!

      Paco, is Lord Karl testing my loyalty by making sure I’ll still do his work when I’m completely sleep deprived?

      Posted by Ash_ on 2007 10 07 at 11:34 AM • permalink


    1. well well – the mitford family has tossed up another fine eccentric.  no doubt unity is barracking for the grey squirrels & jessica is barracking for the red, from whatever circle of hell where each now resides

      red squirrels a definitely cuter

      Posted by KK on 2007 10 07 at 11:35 AM • permalink


    1. He is able to say things like, “Our family had a castle in Mitford, but Robert the Bruce, the sod, knocked it down.”

      Well shoot, I can say that. Anybody with intact verbal skills can say that.

      Oh you mean he actually means it? Okay then.

      Posted by Dr Alice on 2007 10 07 at 11:35 AM • permalink


    1. Black Squirrels ….. Also known as fox squirrels around these parts. They come in a wide range of colors. Some are marked like Siamese cats. They are the largest tree squirrels in North America. In case anyone is curious.

      Posted by greene on 2007 10 07 at 11:49 AM • permalink


    1. This is payback for the introduction of the English Sparrow to North America.  And if somebody says the Grey was brought to England first, well – that’s pre-emption for you!

      Posted by Artki on 2007 10 07 at 11:52 AM • permalink


    1. Starlings too.  You can’t get rid of the things.  Brought here in the late 1800s by Shakespeare enthusiasts, the trash birds took over.

      Posted by trainer on 2007 10 07 at 12:16 PM • permalink


    1. Shame on the Brits for persecuting grey squirrels that only seek a better life and want to feed their families.  Not very multicultural, I must say.

      Posted by Mystery Meat on 2007 10 07 at 12:42 PM • permalink


    1. Won’t Muslim squirrels cut off your nuts? Maybe Media Watch should look for a new host through them?
      /shameless attempt to get quoted on MW

      Posted by andycanuck on 2007 10 07 at 01:09 PM • permalink


    1. In that NYT article was this passage:

      The grays are larger and tougher and meaner than the reds. They can eat newly fallen acorns, and the reds cannot. They cross open lands that the reds are scared of. They are more sociable than reds, allowing for higher population densities. Although gray males cannot mate with red females, they often intimidate red males out of doing so. “It’s like: ‘That’s my girl. You move away!’ ”

      Good God, it’s like the writer is just begging us to substitute “gray squirrels” with “Americans”, and “red quirrels” with “Englishmen”.

      Posted by David Crawford on 2007 10 07 at 01:34 PM • permalink


    1. Overpaid, oversexed, and over here.

      Posted by Some0Seppo on 2007 10 07 at 02:11 PM • permalink


    1. Overpaid, oversexed and over there.

      When I lie back and think of England, Rupert Redesdale is hardly who I think of.

      The grays are the biggest–and smartest–pests in my neighborhood. My husband employs Mr. BB to dissuade them from nesting in the trees directly above us. Seems to work.

      I’d like to meet the person who decided, “Now, what shall I take with me to England? Ah, gray squirrels, just the thing!”

      Posted by Kyda Sylvester on 2007 10 07 at 02:28 PM • permalink


    1. Honest to God, Seppo, I hadn’t read your comment when I posted. Great minds and all that.

      Posted by Kyda Sylvester on 2007 10 07 at 02:31 PM • permalink


    1. I can’t read the source report. No way I’m letting icky NYT cootie (pronounced nit, like the little eggs that lice leave attached to hair roots) cookies on my computer.

      So, question: Have they identified our landing beaches and/or airborne drop points? We have follow on waves of the Gray Squirrel Expeditionary Force on standby until we’re sure the insertion beaches and landing fields are secure.

      Posted by Grimmy on 2007 10 07 at 04:05 PM • permalink


    1. A Gray Expresses His
      True Opinion of Reds
      Pity that nut-muncher? Please.
      He lives to submit and appease.
      Is he even straight?
      He won’t procreate
      And minces about on his knees.

      Posted by lyle on 2007 10 07 at 06:27 PM • permalink


    1. Where I grew up, we had both red and grey squirrels and each kept pretty much to their own territory.  The red ones are bigger and just about as aggressive as the greys.  Guess British red squirrels are just wimpy.

      We also have a couple of towns who harbor white squirrels, and I believe there are white-tailed squirrels around, which are basically mutant red squirrels.

      Posted by JorgXMcKie on 2007 10 07 at 06:36 PM • permalink


    1. I thought in Britain it’s spelled “grey” not “gray” squirrel. But I could be wrong.

      BTW, you don’t hunt squirrels with mere .22s, you hunt them with high pressure flame-throwers. Everyone knows that.

      Posted by Spectre765 on 2007 10 07 at 06:44 PM • permalink


    1. I’ve gotten a few with my car. Brunswickroadkill Stew doesn’t sound very appetizing, though.

      Posted by ErnieG on 2007 10 07 at 06:49 PM • permalink


    1. Our local squirrels are way cooler. They live in the ground and they are known to carry either bubonic plague bacteria or hunta virus.

      Beat that with your “conventional” squirrels!

      Some like to say that only mice carry the hunta virus, but they’re just being silly.

      Posted by Grimmy on 2007 10 07 at 07:02 PM • permalink


    1. Fools! This petty squabble between reds and greys is only weakening your country for the inevitable invasion of the dreaded Russian Black!

      Squirrels have bitten to death a stray dog which was barking at them in a Russian park, local media report.

      Passers-by were too late to stop the attack by the black squirrels in a village in the far east, which reportedly lasted about a minute.

      Unite now, before it’s too late!

      Posted by Evil Pundit on 2007 10 07 at 07:09 PM • permalink


    1. Those grey squirrels are only doing the jobs that the natives won’t do.

      Posted by Carl H on 2007 10 07 at 07:12 PM • permalink


    1. Tell you what, we will take back all of the squirrels if you Brits take back all of the fucking starlings.

      Posted by moptop on 2007 10 07 at 08:24 PM • permalink


    1. Let’s not quirrel about squarrels. Er, that is, let’s not quabble about squibbles.

      That is, I mean to say, clearly the problem is the English squirrel, Cyril, needs to be a more virile squirrel.

      Posted by TimT on 2007 10 07 at 08:33 PM • permalink


    1. Hey Squirrel – suck my nuts!

      Posted by Dan Lewis on 2007 10 07 at 09:59 PM • permalink


    1. Dan clearly needs to get out more.  Or is that less?

      I have a happy snap of a squirrel at Grand Canyon right on the precipice.  Will upload it and linky it tonight – quite enjoyed seeing them race around the edge of a 1000m drop.

      One day soon we’ll be talking about how the nation’s identity has dissolved and distorted by migration.  Future wars will be interesting battles between largely similar demographics.

      hehe nice to see al gore’s film have to carry warnings of untruths – how inconvenient.

      Posted by peter m on 2007 10 07 at 10:34 PM • permalink


    1. Awesome squirrel, filcan. I do believe I saw one recently when I was driving through North Carolina. Here in Florida all the squirrels are gray, though some of them have a slight reddish tint to their fur.

      Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 2007 10 08 at 12:29 AM • permalink


    1. Red vs. Grey?

      Well, stipulating first of all that both species are furry-tailed tree rats, it must be admitted that the Reds are filthy little beasts to a degree not usually found in their Grey brethren.

      Simply on sanitary grounds, I have to back the Grey team.

      Posted by mojo on 2007 10 08 at 12:51 AM • permalink


    1. Yes. The plan is working.

      While the silly humans are distracted by the pretend fight between the Reds and the Greys, the Ground Squirrel Underminer Teams continue their nefarious works.

      Your foundations will fail, and with it your civilization.

      (there’s a muahahaha and a hehehe that’s supposed to go in there, somewhere, but it doesn’t translate well. It keeps comming out as chittersqueek-squeek and head bobs.)

      Posted by Grimmy on 2007 10 08 at 01:12 AM • permalink


    1. All red squirrels should be COMPOST!  Media Watch? Here I am! Dean Martin! Hello?!

      Posted by dean martin on 2007 10 08 at 02:16 AM • permalink


    1. Gray sqirrels will take over the world, the Islamic caliphate will be usurped.

      Posted by Howzat on 2007 10 08 at 02:54 AM • permalink


  1. #47, Howzat:

    Gray sqirrels will take over the world, the Islamic caliphate will be usurped.

    Errmm… I mean… Fascist!!
    No, maybe it is Racist!
    Yeah…Racist, that’s the one..

    Oh…now I remember.

    (I googled it, it’s a word, honest)

    Posted by Grimmy on 2007 10 08 at 05:29 AM • permalink