Squirrels Are Dying

I met with the Maplewood Health Inspector yesterday to show him the dead squirrel I found on my patio last week (It was in a plastic bag in a trash can.) and point out where I had seen two other dead squirrels near my house.  He suggested that the squirrels were likely poisoned.  There is a severe rat problem throughout town.  Property owners are calling exterminators, some of who may be putting down bait outside the house which the squirrels are then eating.  Please if you have an exterminator come to treat your property for a rodent infestation, tell them not to put bait outside the house.  My neighbors are getting letters informing them of the situation and local exterminators known to the Health Department are getting follow-up calls.


Update:  SO is also reporting squirrels dying mysteriously.  The matter is now being investigated by the State.


I had heard rats were becoming a problem with so many restaurants closed. I guess the dumpsters are the rats' usual buffet. So now they have to go looking for food elsewhere.


I have heard this too.  I have also heard that the rats are becoming more aggressive.  This does not explain why so many squirrels are dying.  The three I saw were all within a few days of each other and concentrated on half of a single block.  If anyone else spots a dead squirrel, please let your health department know.


We have a bonanza of squirrels this year. Would you like some replacements?


Thank you for your generous offer.  Until I know what is killing the ones we had, I wouldn't want to endanger any others.  


A squirrel is just a rat with a better PR agent. 


A neighbor has seen a number of them  harassed by large birds, who have often tried (twice successfully) to abscond with them from trees. 

And yes, the rat problem is BAD in places.


Hawks, cats, foxes, and other predators was my first thought.  However, the three dead squirrels I saw had not been molested in anyway.  Very close proximity in time and location in which they were found leads me to think this was not a predator/prey situation.Neither of the two I saw in the roadway showed any signs of death by vehicle.  Anyway, the matter has been referred to the State.  It will be interesting to see what the findings are once they complete their investigation.

Soul_29  All three of the squirrels, aka tree rats, were at my end of the block.  If you see any at your end, please let the Health Department know.


joan_crystal said:

Hawks, cats, foxes, and other predators was my first thought.  However, the three dead squirrels I saw had not been molested in anyway.  Very close proximity in time and location in which they were found leads me to think this was not a predator/prey situation.Neither of the two I saw in the roadway showed any signs of death by vehicle.  Anyway, the matter has been referred to the State.  It will be interesting to see what the findings are once they complete their investigation.

Soul_29  All three of the squirrels, aka tree rats, were at my end of the block.  If you see any at your end, please let the Health Department know.

I was thinking they could have fallen but then I read squirrels can fall up to 100 feet without getting injured!


Also no trees nearby.  One fell in the middle of my yard (no tree close enough for a reasonable trajectory).  Another fell in the middle of a wide roadway where the yellow line would have been if one had been painted on that road.  Both squirrels were lying on their sides, body fully extended, tail to one side.  Not the posture you would expect from a fall from one of the giant oaks in the vicinity.


jimmurphy said:

Like this?

  oh oh  oh oh  oh oh


jimmurphy said:

Like this?

 No, the tail was to the side, not straight behind the prone figure.  Also figure was lying on it's side so legs were not splayed as in the drawing.


Maybe it's from the rat poison that the Township is using to kill the growing rat population.


jimmurphy said:

So more like this?

 Yes!  Thank you. That's much more accurate.


yahooyahoo said:

Maybe it's from the rat poison that the Township is using to kill the growing rat population.

 Possible.  However, Health Department's first reaction was that the squirrels had died of natural causes (They know where I live.).  I am in a residential neighborhood, closest restaurant is about a mile away.  The health inspector I spoke with asked if any of my neighbors had put down poison.  There was no mention of such poison being put down by the town.   I have seen no "black boxes" on the block.  Closest one I have seen is on Tuscan Street just off Springfield Avenue by the Dollar Store.


yahooyahoo said:

Maybe it's from the rat poison that the Township is using to kill the growing rat population.

I'm not sure they're growing, just coming out of their usual feeding grounds. 

But maybe those usual feeding grounds have better rat control measures in effect. So as they start looking for food elsewhere they are less likely to encounter poison so the numbers are growing. 


I think part of it is that they have become more visible to most of us.  When I was looking for an exterminator to deal with my own rodent infestation problem (field mice not rats or squirrels), I got story after story of residents dealing with rat infestations in their home.  Exterminator, when he came, contributed some of his own.  This suggests that rats used to feeding on garbage discarded from our restaurants are now seeking other food sources.  So, yes, there is evidence to support their moving on to other parts of town in greater numbers. 


mrincredible said:

yahooyahoo said:

Maybe it's from the rat poison that the Township is using to kill the growing rat population.

I'm not sure they're growing, just coming out of their usual feeding grounds. 

But maybe those usual feeding grounds have better rat control measures in effect. So as they start looking for food elsewhere they are less likely to encounter poison so the numbers are growing. 

Your description is more accurate.  The population is most likely moving out of their normal territories looking for food.


yahooyahoo said:

Your description is more accurate.  The population is most likely moving out of their normal territories looking for food.

 Like New Jerseyans driving to Georgia to get a haircut 


I thought nothing of this thread until just now.   I was walking down the street and heard a strange plopping noise.  I had never experienced a squirrel fall out of a tree, but there it was in the street gutter.  I watched it struggle for a couple of minutes, then figuring that it was dying, I turned my back and walked on just a little way.  Returning about a minute later, the squirrel was gone.  It had somehow made a comeback and had climbed a short retaining wall into the garden beyond.  It had the presence of mind to seek shelter in the plants when it became aware of my presence.  This is odd behavior.  I have never seen or heard of a squirrel falling out of a tree, but maybe it was a bit small and may have been a youngster learning the ropes the hard and painful way.


mrmaplewood said:

I thought nothing of this thread until just now.   I was walking down the street and heard a strange plopping noise.  I had never experienced a squirrel fall out of a tree, but there it was in the street gutter.  I watched it struggle for a couple of minutes, then figuring that it was dying, I turned my back and walked on just a little way.  Returning about a minute later, the squirrel was gone.  It had somehow made a comeback and had climbed a short retaining wall into the garden beyond.  It had the presence of mind to seek shelter in the plants when it became aware of my presence.  This is odd behavior.  I have never seen or heard of a squirrel falling out of a tree, but maybe it was a bit small and may have been a youngster learning the ropes the hard and painful way.

 Squirrels are ficking nuts.


Update:  I notified the Health Department of another dead squirrel this morning.  This one was on the sidewalk/median area on the north side of Tuscan Road just east of the Bowdoin intersection.  Unfortunately, by the time the Health Inspector got there to collect the sample for testing, the squirrel had been removed and likely disposed of.  Please, if you see a dead squirrel, notify the Health Department.  They are trying to determine the cause of the problem and need your help. 


Death by rat poison.


yahooyahoo said:

Death by rat poison.

 That was my conclusion as well.  However, that would mean that someone was putting rat poison outside in a residential neighborhood.  According to the Health Department, that practice would be dangerous and illegal. I really hate to think that neighborhood children or pets would get into such stuff.


Sometimes it's a different reason altogether.


joan_crystal said:

yahooyahoo said:

Death by rat poison.

 That was my conclusion as well.  However, that would mean that someone was putting rat poison outside in a residential neighborhood.  According to the Health Department, that practice would be dangerous and illegal. I really hate to think that neighborhood children or pets would get into such stuff.

 The Town is putting rat poison outside in a residential neighborhood.  They did it in my neighborhood, I watched the guy do it.


yahooyahoo said:

 The Town is putting rat poison outside in a residential neighborhood.  They did it in my neighborhood, I watched the guy do it.

 Which neighborhood are you in?  The four dead squirrels I reported were in Maplecrest near College Hill.



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