Asking for trouble

The squirrel in the picture below is the first invader of its species in our garden since we moved in over in 1999. Considering how far away the woods are – the width of the road – that’s quite surprising.

But now one foolhardy Sciurus carolinensis has decided to come over and make a right mess of the peanut dispensers hanging from the small tree at the end of the garden. I say foolhardy as he obviously noticed the air rifle that occasionally sticks its barrel out the kitchen window to take pot shots at the remaining pair of rats still eking out a living underneath said tree.

To really annoy me, the creature didn’t deign to sample any of the specially imported Chinese peanuts. Not good enough, eh? {{Blam, squeak, thud}}


But not this time. Partly because shooting at anything above the fence line will probably result in the police being round. Despite the fact there was no one else in sight, it was 100% probable that any shot would miss the furry target and hit some unseen dog walker deep in the woods.

Additionally, I wasn’t fully cognisant at the time of the legalities around squirrel slaying. After a little research, I found there are a few limitations to bear in mind:

  1. My whole house is within 50 feet of the centre of a public highway so any pellets going near anybody on the other side of the fence would be … an offence (£1,000 fine).
  2. Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 only lists Red Squirrels as protected. The handily named Grey Squirrel Control website says “blow the bastards away” {{although I may be paraphrasing here}}
  3. If the squirrel isn’t killed by the shot, it will have to be humanely terminated. That’s not going to be fun. It’s one thing to try and kill it from several yards away but another entirely to pin it down and deliver a killer chop to the back of the skull. According to the Wild Mammals (Protection) Act 1996, you can’t mutilate, kick, beat, nail, impale, stab, burn, stone, crush, drag, drown or asphyxiate the pest which narrows the options down a bit.

I think I’ll leave squirrel culling to my dad.

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