Squirrels – the truth

I spotted a recent Facebook status:

Had a great time out at [Stellenbosch wine farm] with [person], lovely tea and cake and a lot of fun feeding the squirrels.

Now, I want to talk about the grey squirrels on the wine farm, but let’s address the obvious grey elephant in the room first.

Tea and cake? What are you doing? You’re on a wine farm. The choice of beverage should be wine and the choice of foodstuff should… also be wine. You’re a grown adult. Honestly, make better decisions.

And then…

Feeding the squirrels. What are you doing? They are a nasty, destructive, invasive alien species introduced to SA by a racist, colonial megalomaniac.

Native to the hardwood forests of North America, the Grey squirrel was introduced into South Africa by Cecil John Rhodes. At the turn of the 19th century he released squirrels on Groote Schuur estate in Cape Town. By the 1970s their range had extended as far as Swellendam in the Western Cape.

And you’re feeding them? You’re a grown adult. Honestly, make better decisions.

No-one crows on social media about “watering the Port Jackson” or “fertilising the Rooikrans” while they are out and about, do they? No, because those are nasty, destructive, invasive alien species introduced to SA by racist colonialists. You’d never willingly or knowingly sustain or propagate these things.

But then, they don’t have fluffy tails, do they?

Make no mistake, Grey Squirrels are bastards:

It is a serious pest and its habit of removing tree bark is extremely damaging. It also carries a disease called paradox virus, which affects indigenous species. It may build nests in buildings, destroying electrical wiring and woodwork.

If the wine farm were in KZN, they would be obliged to kill the little gits, but sadly (for us, not the squirrels), this wine farm was in the Western Cape. They are listed higher on the NEMBA index of invasive species (i.e. they are considered a bigger threat to our native biodiversity) than rats.

Did you feed the rats at the wine farm?
Of course not. But then, they don’t have fluffy tails, do they?

The best grey squirrel is dead grey squirrel. Get over their alleged “cute” personas and stop pandering to their every need. They are an invasive species, destroying our native flora and fauna.

Make better decisions.

Angry birds

A clickbait-laden headline led me to a paywalled article from the M&G this morning:

More like… budgie constraints, amirite?

But hard luck, M&G, because I got all the information I required from your first (free) paragraph. Ha!

We know that there is no money available to help control or eradicate these pests, because
a) there’s no money available for anything, and
b) the entire department budget went on “don’t do this” signs in Struisbaai.

On the actual birds, we don’t see much of any of them in Cape Town (yet). Allegedly, there are Indian House Crow colonies here, but they are nowhere near as widespread as in Durban and KZN. There are more mallards in Bakewell than in Kaapstad, and the Mynas and Parakeets haven’t really got this far either.

It’s a bit concerning to see the parakeets described as “popular” above. Sure, they’re nice to look at, but they are still nasty invasives, destroying the habitats of our indigenous wildlife. This is the same thing that squirrels do, and it’s why I will happily take a catapult to any I see around our garden.

These parakeets are a problem worldwide. But who is responsible?

Paging Ian Betteridge.

That said, while these may all be terrible invasive avian species to have around, they’re still not annoying as some of our homegrown birds: the Egyptian Goose (not really from Egypt, not really a goose) and the F*****g Guineafowl being the worst birds ever to exist.

I’m less willing to take a catty to either of these two, because sadly, they do actually belong here, but I will (and have) happily taken the drone out of an evening to dislodge them from a prospective roosting spot within earshot of my bedroom.