Red Squirrel Infanticide
At Summit Wildlife Solutions, we pride ourselves on humane wildlife removal. We believe that all creatures deserve to live happily and prosper in their own natural habitats. That’s why we do our best to humanely remove wildlife from urban settings and relocate them. We also provide advice on how to best prevent local wildlife from getting too familiar and comfortable with your home, property, and surroundings, thereby precluding the need for intervention. But do you ever think about the troubles they have in the wild themselves?
In a fascinating turn of events, researchers with the University of Alberta recently discovered that, in some cases, male red squirrels are committing infanticide to increase the chances of producing their own offspring. Sound confusing? Well, it is!
Interestingly, it all has to do with the white spruce tree. Somehow, and scientists have not been able to figure this one out yet, the squirrels are able to tell as early as Spring whether the Fall will be a plentiful white spruce “mast year,” meaning they give off a lot of food. With this unexplained insider information, the male squirrels have been found to actually kill babies of the female squirrels with whom the plan to mate later in the season, all so that these new babies sired by the murderous male will have enough food to survive. Essentially, the males are killing babies that are not theirs, to leave more food for their babies yet-to-come. It sounds brutal but it’s seemingly been part of the red squirrel circle of life forever.
Does that make you think twice about how cute and cuddly squirrels are? There’s no doubt they’re still adorable. But there’s also still no doubt that they are best left to carry out their own natural lives in the woods, where they belong. So if you have squirrel problems, or wildlife concerns of any sort, give Summit Wildlife Solutions a call today.