In order of increasing importance…

December 4th, 2014 · 41 comments

Our submitter says she spotted this request during a walk around her neighborhood in Oakland, California.

Do Not Feed the Squirrels 1. They may carry Bubonic Plague 2. You're making them dependent on humans 3. They bury your peanuts in my garden

related: How not to solve your stray cat problem

FILED UNDER: neighbors · that's unsanitary

41 responses so far ↓

  • #1   FeRD bang

    I just can’t take this note seriously without some amusing squirrel-, plague-, or peanut-related clipart. A more eye-catching font might really make it “pop”.

    Fun Fact: If you type the words “Bubonic Plague” in Comic Sans font, your computer commits digital seppuku. (Not intended as a factual statement.)

    Dec 4, 2014 at 4:50 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #2   Chinchillazilla

    Eh, that’s what antibiotics are for.

    Dec 4, 2014 at 6:31 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #3   kermit

    Unless these squirrels are from New Mexico, the chance of them having the plague are virtually nil.

    The CDC reports about 10-20 cases of plague a year. You have better chance of winning the lottery than running into a squirrel with the plague.

    And to be fair, don’t plague-ridden squirrels deserve to eat?

    Dec 4, 2014 at 7:17 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #3.1   RishaBree

      Also, it’s entirely treatable by antibiotics these days.

      Dec 5, 2014 at 9:15 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #4   The Elf

    That just makes me want to start feeding squirrels to make them dependent on me and let them bury nuts in my garden. I will name the smartest one Rosie and train her to attack people I don’t like.

    *Ashes, Ashes, you will fall down*

    Bwa ha ha ha!

    Dec 4, 2014 at 7:23 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #5   sunshynegrll

    A perfect example of why people should NEVER let squirrels roam around OUTDOORS!!

    Dec 5, 2014 at 7:00 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #5.1   TKD

      THIS. EXACTLY! It is irresponsible Squirrel Stewardship to allow defenseless squirrels to roam the neighborhoods, spreading disease and burying food stores for the winter. You outdoor squirrel people just drive me nuts!

      Dec 5, 2014 at 7:15 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #5.2   pooham

      I tried to make my squirrels indoor-only after some complaints from the neighbors, but they were extremely depressed and resorted to pulling out their fur. Their poor once-bushy tails looked like the tails of rats.

      After several weeks of this I decided that they needed to have access to the outdoors. They are much happier and healthier now that they are again allowed to go outside. And they still sleep safely and snuggly inside at night in my bed.

      Dec 5, 2014 at 5:19 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #5.3   FeRD bang

      Severely late to this party, but @TKD: #ISWYDT. With the “drive me nuts!” Very droll, sir or madame. Very droll indeed.

      Dec 11, 2014 at 12:26 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #6   Corviddreams

    Plague squirrels are a thing in California too. We used to get warnings about it so we could protect our pets.

    Dec 5, 2014 at 10:39 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #6.1   wanderingdragon

      The plague is actually endemic anywhere west of Dallas (if you drew a vertical line through the US through Dallas). There were plague squirrels in Dallas, as well, a few years back. It’s mostly carried by prairie dogs. But there are only a handful of cases every year, just like anthrax crops up in a few random places every year. The chance of actually getting either is extremely low.

      Source: Wildlife Diseases class in college. Finally, it’s useful. whoo

      Dec 5, 2014 at 5:54 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #6.2   Tesselara

      It IS gratifying when one’s college education comes in handy. I try hard not to think how much $/useful moment this actually comes down to.

      Although, having a degree is a huge help in GETTING a job. But, the specific things I learned within the job…not as relevant.

      Dec 8, 2014 at 11:11 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #6.3   kermit

      It depends on what field/job you’re in. I use the stuff that I learned almost on a daily basis.

      Dec 8, 2014 at 12:36 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #7   Ace of Space

    I don’t want just any squirrel, I want THAT squirrel!

    (In my best whiny Veruca Salt voice)

    Dec 5, 2014 at 11:01 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.1   TRT

      I thought they’d been rounded up and trained as road crossing attendants.

      Dec 8, 2014 at 3:06 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #8   Poltergeist

    The only reason I’m feeding the squirrels is so that I can catch them and feed them to the grizzly bears that wander into my backyard. So really, you have nothing to worry about.

    Dec 5, 2014 at 1:18 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #8.1   The Elf

      Except for the plague-ridden bears.

      Dec 5, 2014 at 1:55 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #8.2   Poltergeist

      If you get mauled by a bear and make it out alive enough to suffer the effects of the plague, I’d still say you’re lucky.

      Dec 6, 2014 at 10:52 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #9   Lita bang

    Well now this one’s a bit squirrelly, isn’t it?

    Dec 5, 2014 at 5:04 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #9.1   The Elf

      It’s nuts!

      Dec 5, 2014 at 5:35 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #10   Jami

    Squirrel Girl would not approve of this PAN. You don’t accuse Mr. Tippy Toes of caring the plague.

    Dec 6, 2014 at 1:02 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #11   Kasaba

    My first landlord in London strictly forbade me from feeding the squirrels from the window of my attic room. Naturally, I went ahead and placed a piece of pork sausage on the roof space outside my window at the first opportunity, to see if they would go for it.

    Squirrel+pork sausage united = one of the most guilt-ridden moments of my life.

    Dec 6, 2014 at 9:16 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #11.1   Poltergeist

      Most people don’t care enough to feed the squirrels, so the only thing a warning does is make people want to feed them just to stick it to the man.

      Dec 6, 2014 at 10:47 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #11.2   Jami

      If you want some humor, throw normal size marshmallows to chipmunks. We did this one year while camping when someone didn’t seal the bag properly and they got too stale overnight for human consumption cause of the mountain air. Squirrels, of course, could pick them up and run off with them, but the chipmunks, being so tiny, would actually roll and tumble along trying to carry those things.

      Another year mom brought up all the nuts she kept in her freezer to feed them and we ended up having to pick them all up and break the shells open cause the squirrels and chipmunks couldn’t get the walnuts and other thick shelled nuts open on their own.

      Dec 6, 2014 at 11:48 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #11.3   Iwill findU

      I don’t blame the landlord for telling you not to feed the squirrels those things are a bitch to get rid of once they’ve learned they can find food in an area. Thanks to my stupid uncles my Grandmother’s had a squirrel problem in her attic for over 50 yrs.
      Not a long term problem for you as a renter because you can just move out, but your landlord is the one that’s going to have to clean up the mess they make chewed wires, ripping out insulation, and crap everywhere. Feeding them after being not to was very P.A. of you.
      I would hope you would be smart enough to not feed any mice or rats that also found their way into your home, but since you’re already willing to feed pests that’s not looking to good for you.

      Dec 7, 2014 at 6:57 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #11.4   kermit

      Maybe the squirrels destroyed your attic because they just don’t like you.

      Dec 7, 2014 at 11:24 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #11.5   Kasaba

      I appreciate your grandmother may have a problem due to your uncles’ misbehavior as kids, but if you’ve had a squirrel problem in your attic for 50 years, then you’re probably not making any/much of an attempt to solve it.

      People usually feed wild animals, including squirrels, because they want them to come closer, to have a better a look at them. I’ve never thought, oh, these squirrels must be hungry, and will surely die if I don’t feed them. In the case of the squirrels in my landlord’s garden, I fed them twice maybe, before the novelty wore off.

      Dec 7, 2014 at 12:12 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #11.6   Lita bang

      I’ve never thought, oh, these squirrels must be hungry, and will surely die if I don’t feed them.

      My old across-the-street neighbor fed the neighborhood squirrels for that exact reason. And then she couldn’t figure out why the squirrels were so fat they couldn’t get out of the street when a car was coming…

      Dec 7, 2014 at 6:48 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #11.7   kermit

      The only fat squirrels I’ve ever seen during the summer were the ones in a park that reeks of weed. I gather those squirrels must be a tad stoned. They are adorable.

      Dec 7, 2014 at 9:24 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #11.8   Iwill findU

      It’s been a 50 yr problem because until like myself my grandmother wasn’t/isn’t willing to go the extreme measures of kill them all. She had a cat that was a great mouser, and so he kept them away for a lot of years, but her new cat is useless and so lazy that it won ‘t even go upstairs to the attic. She patches all the holes they make so they don’t have easy access and has humane traps set so she can release the ones she does trap. But 50 yrs of food has created entire generations that go to her house for food.
      And they’re squires they rip the insulation out because it’s warm and soft so makes a great lining for nests, and they chew wires because maybe it’s food. Not because they’re capable of thinking “I don’t like you so I’m going to fuck up your house” But you still don’t want them taking up residence in your house even if they aren’t intending to be assholes well they trash your house.

      Dec 8, 2014 at 12:47 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #11.9   Iwill findU

      Also you would be shocked at the number of people that aren’t willing to kill mice or rats that infest their homes. Squires don’t have the same stigma as mice or rats even though they are just as bad both in terms of damage to the house and the health problems that can come along with their being there.

      Dec 8, 2014 at 12:56 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #11.10   Kasaba

      I killed buckets full of rats and mice during my childhood. My brother and I used to chase them out of the nests they made below our parakeets’ aviaries, along with our fox terrier. I don’t think I could have crushed a squirrel beneath my bare feet, with quite the same vigor as I did with the mice. Not that there are squirrels where I grew up mind.

      I can understand why some people wouldn’t have the heart/nerve to kill them. Even though I somewhat frown on this childhood blood lust, killing the mice and rats, I wouldn’t have any problem calling in pest control.

      Dec 8, 2014 at 8:44 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #11.11   havingfitz

      I’m assuming that “squires” was an auto-correct for “squirrels” but I’m laughing my ass off at the image of a bunch of medieval boys hiding in people’s attics and chewing up wires.

      Dec 9, 2014 at 1:28 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #11.12   Iwill FindU

      Auto-correct mixed with dyslexia. lol

      Dec 9, 2014 at 3:57 pm   rating: 91  small thumbs up

  • #12   Raichu

    Am I the only one who wondered if this was actually someone attempting to feed the birds, and having their food robbed? (Though I’m not sure if any birds eat peanuts…)

    Dec 7, 2014 at 12:23 am   rating: 91  small thumbs up

    • #12.1   LittleBirdy

      Your comment made me curious so I did some Google searching. Apparently lots of birds will eat peanuts, and the fat and nutrients are good for them. It’s suggested to break up the pieces for smaller birds, but bigger birds like jays and grackles can handle peanuts in the shell. So it definitely seems possible that the squirrels are stealing them from feeders. People do feed squirrels and chipmunks directly though – my great-grandmother got the chipmunks around her house to take peanuts right from her hand. They were all named “Chippy.”

      Dec 7, 2014 at 12:19 pm   rating: 91  small thumbs up

    • #12.2   ChristineC

      One summer my mom befriended a squirrel in her back yard. “Charlie” would come take a nut from her hand. One day his little nail barely nicked her finger. She didn’t think anything about it until her finger got infected. Two rounds of antibiotics later, she no longer feeds Charlie and as far as we can tell, he is still fat and sassy. Although they all look alike, so it could be Fred for all we know.

      Dec 8, 2014 at 8:02 am   rating: 91  small thumbs up

    • #12.3   magicdomino

      I throw a handful of peanuts in the shell to the squirrels each morning to distract them from the bird feeder. As soon as I walk out the door, the blue jays show up, and the cardinals usually grab one or two each. I don’t think the squirrels get many peanuts. Also, Safeway has roasted unsalted peanuts for less than the raw ones at the pet store, so no peanut plants in anyone’s flower beds. I may have a crop of ornamental corn though; a squirrel has been pulling kernals off and burying them.

      Dec 8, 2014 at 4:52 pm   rating: 91  small thumbs up

  • #13   Zero Our Hero

    Okay, maybe I’m twisted but I guess the writer is a woman who doesn’t like having anyone bust a nut her back garden. Maybe if the nuts were smaller she would eventually get to like it. Or the squirrel should have just put the tip of the nut in so she could get used to the sight of having nuts there.

    Dec 7, 2014 at 3:01 pm   rating: 91  small thumbs up

    • #13.1   Lita bang

      Ooo Zero, that must’ve taken some balls. ;)

      Dec 7, 2014 at 6:49 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #14   Haterade

    Fun bit of trivia – they’re apparently also causing global warming.

    Dec 17, 2014 at 2:08 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up


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