Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 24

Curios | Squirrels

Safe Squirrel Sex

ISTOCK PHOTGRAPHY

OR IS IT SQUIRREL BIRTH CONTROL?
EITHER WAY, THERE'S A CHANCE
FOR FEWER RODENTS
IN THE TREES.

by Kimberly Button

Clemson University is at
work on mitigating
squirrel tree damage at
the school via hormones
and birth control.

THERE IS NOT A BACKYARD BIRDER anywhere who
can't attest to the destructiveness of squirrels. The pintsized powerhouses chew through bird feeders, gobble
down bird seed and gnaw on houses. Homeowners are
not the only ones frustrated with these nibblers,
though. When more than 100 trees were found to be
damaged on the grounds of South Carolina's Clemson
University due to an overabundance of squirrels, the
school's Division of Natural Resources was only too
happy to be a part of a study finding ways to squelch
their reproduction.
Squirrels are not likely to ever consider contraceptive options, but researchers at the USDA National
Wildlife Research Center are doing the research for
them. The Center is developing non-lethal methods
to control the numbers of animals - including eastern
grey squirrels and white tail deer - that are causing
damage to property nationwide. Clemson University
has been a part of the study, which started six years ago
and will end in mid to late 2014 and focuses solely on
eastern grey squirrels.
The first phase of the study tested GonaCan, which
suppresses hormones that initiate breeding. While it
works, the contraceptive has to be injected in the animals, resulting in a price tag of $65 per rodent.
"Although it was effective in the ones we treated, it
was not cost effective," says Dr. Greg Yarrow, a profes-

24 | BlueRidgeCountry.com

sor of wildlife ecology and the Chair of Clemson's
Natural Resources Division.
Next in the study was a contraceptive that could be
included in food. DiazaCon is a substance that alters
a squirrel's cholesterol levels, which in turn will inhibit
their reproduction. The agent was developed for use
in humans to lower cholesterol, but is now being studied by the USDA as a wildlife contraceptive.
Giving birth control to squirrels is indeed strange
enough, but the weirdness does not end there. It turns
out that the contraceptive-laced squirrel feed also
includes an inert dye to help track the squirrels in the
study. The dye makes the squirrels' whiskers and teeth
fluoresce under a black light, causing them to glow in
the dark. Not only that, it also turns their white bellies
a shade of pink while they are eating the study-related
food.
"The squirrels in the study have ear tags, too,"
Yarrow explains, "so we've got a lot of squirrels that
look like they're wearing earrings and have pink bellies
running around campus."
Could birth control-laced seed be the answer to
keeping squirrel numbers at bay? "It is the last year of
the project, be what we are finding is it is effective,
though there are challenges in delivery," Yarrow says.
"Is it a tool in managing wildlife in populations that
are out of control? I think the jury is still out." 


http://www.BlueRidgeCountry.com

Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014

Cover
Table of Contents
Letters/Worth a Click
From the Editor
Creature Feature
From the Farm
Great Home Buys
Digital Help Guide
Mountain Report
The Hike
Festivals & Events
Mountain Curios: Racing Lawn Mowers
Mountain Curios: Stamping Out Squirrel Sex!
Mountain Curios: A Library as Big as a Breadbox?
Mountain Curios: Mill from 1794 Still Turns!
Mountain Curios: Indian Mounds in Downtown!
Travel Guide 2014: A Year of Great Festivals!
The Blue Ridge Parkway Photoessay
Travel Guide 2014: A Foodie's Dream Journey
Travel Guide 2014: The Retro Pilgrimage
Wilderness Institute in the Smokies
Mountain Garden
Cabin in the Woods: Royal Oaks Retreat
Guest Column
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Cover
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Table of Contents
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 4
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Letters/Worth a Click
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - From the Editor
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Creature Feature
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - From the Farm
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 9
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Great Home Buys
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 11
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 12
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Digital Help Guide
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Mountain Report
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 15
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - The Hike
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 17
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Festivals & Events
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 19
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 20
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 21
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 22
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Mountain Curios: Racing Lawn Mowers
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Mountain Curios: Stamping Out Squirrel Sex!
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Mountain Curios: A Library as Big as a Breadbox?
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Mountain Curios: Mill from 1794 Still Turns!
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Mountain Curios: Indian Mounds in Downtown!
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Travel Guide 2014: A Year of Great Festivals!
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 29
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 30
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 31
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 32
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 33
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - The Blue Ridge Parkway Photoessay
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 35
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 36
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 37
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Travel Guide 2014: A Foodie's Dream Journey
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 39
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 40
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 41
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 42
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 43
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 44
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 45
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 46
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 47
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Travel Guide 2014: The Retro Pilgrimage
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 49
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 50
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 51
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 52
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 53
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Wilderness Institute in the Smokies
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 55
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 56
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 57
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 58
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Mountain Garden
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 60
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 61
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Cabin in the Woods: Royal Oaks Retreat
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 63
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 64
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 65
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Guest Column
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Cover3
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/BRCSO21
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brcja21
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2021_0506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2021_0304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2021_0102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2020_11_12
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2020_0910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2020_0708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2020_0506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2020_0304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2020_0102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2019_1112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2019_0910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2019_0708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2019_0506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2019_0304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2019_0102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2018_1112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2018_0910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2018_0708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2018_0506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2018_0304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2018_0102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2017_1112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2017_0910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2017_0708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2017_0506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2017_0304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20170102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_201612
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20160910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20160708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20160506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20160304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20160102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20151112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20150910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20150708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20150506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20150304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20150102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20141112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20140910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20140708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20140506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20140304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20140102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20131112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20130910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20130708
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com