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multiple dead squirrels

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From: Brittany Lindstrom
City:
Champaign , IL
In the past 10 days we have had three dead squirrels in our yard. None have shown any signs of trauma, all seemed fat and otherwise healthy (healthy coats, no sign of parasites/ swelling etc.) They look like they just lay down and die. One was dead under a tree full of babies, since the first day we saw them, we have not seen the babies and assume they have also died. We are worried that either they have some sort of illness or someone in our neighborhood is poisoning them. Our main concern is that we have dogs, and we do not want something from the squirrels to infect them if it is indeed a communicable disease.

We know there are lots of squirrels, but three in such a short period in our yard, not just the neighborhood, but our small front and back yards, is concerning. We have contacted animal control and they do not seem concerned, is there anything we can do?

 
Extension Message
From: Laura Kammin
Visiting Extension Specialist, Pollution Prevention
Extension-Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant College Program
lkammin@illinois.edu
I would guess that the squirrels got into something that they shouldn't have. It is unusual for three to die on the same property in such a short time. Do not let the dogs come into contact with the squirrels. If they were poisoned, the dogs could be seriously injured if they consume the squirrels. (Hopefully your dogs are better behaved than mine, but I know what mine would do if they found a squirrel in the yard). It sounds like the squirrels were in good physical condition, so I would not be too concerned about disease. If the deaths were caused by disease, the squirrels would likely have shown previous signs of being sick (thin, lethargic, fur that is missing or showing scabs, etc.), and it would likely impact more than just three squirrels in the local population. I've let the IDNR district wildlife biologist for this area know about the three squirrels. If he thinks there is cause for concern, he'll give you a call. Typically with wildlife, biologists don't get too concerned unless there are many (10+) animals that die in a short time period. So, if you keep finding dead squirrels, he'll likely want to look into the situation. If it stays at three, it is fine to simply double-bag the squirrels and put them in the trash. Please let me know if you have more questions.

 
From: Steve Still
City:
Champaign, IL
Hi, just following up on the previous email. I found two dead squirrels in my yard today after coming back from a 4th of July trip. I saw two dead birds in our yard the two weeks before the 4th. Probably all not connected, but I just wanted to let you know.

 
Extension Message
From: Laura Kammin
Visiting Extension Specialist, Pollution Prevention
Extension-Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant College Program
lkammin@illinois.edu
Thanks for letting me know. If you find more dead squirrels or birds in your yard, please let me know.

 
From: Barb McClain
City:
Champaign, IL
My husband has found 2 dead squirrels in our yard in the last week. One at the base of our maple tree and the other a few feet on the other side of the tree. one last week, around the July 4th and then today July 13th. I'm concerned too! Is someone doing some squirrel killing? Do the other people in this post live close to me or my neighborhood?

 
From: Barb McClain
City:
Champaign, IL
Spoke to a few of my neighbors yesterday, and they have recently found a few dead squirrels in their yard. one neighbor thought it may be her cat....atleast in her yard. She has found 2 and another neighbor has found one in his yard. all of these have been recently,

 
Extension Message
From: Laura Kammin
Visiting Extension Specialist, Pollution Prevention
Extension-Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant College Program
lkammin@illinois.edu
For anyone posting on this topic, are the dead squirrels you are finding a little on the small side? We have a bunch of juvenile squirrels this time of year trying to figure out how to survive. Not all of them make it. Can you tell if the squirrels you are finding are adults or are they juveniles?

 
From: Barb McClain
City:
Champaign, IL
As far as I know, All the squirrels found in the neighborhood were adult squirrels....and healthy

 
From: Barb McClain
City:
Champaign, IL
Today, Sunday July 20th....Another Dead squirrel in my yard! What should I do?

 
Extension Message
From: Laura Kammin
Visiting Extension Specialist, Pollution Prevention
Extension-Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant College Program
lkammin@illinois.edu
Just pick it up and put it in the garbage double-bagged. I asked the IDNR district wildlife biologist and he said there have been many reports of dead squirrels in the C-U area this summer, but nothing outside normal ranges.

 
From: Seth Doiron
City:
Marion, IL
Really weird, I googled this today because I've had 5 dead squirrels in my yard all in the past three months for absolutely 0 reason. I've never seen this before to begin with, let alone so many in such a concentrated time.

 
Extension Message
From: Laura Kammin
Visiting Extension Specialist, Pollution Prevention
Extension-Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant College Program
lkammin@illinois.edu
Did the squirrels appear to be adults or were they maybe juveniles?

 
From: Carrie Hall
City:
Columbus, NC
My husband is good friends with a licensed forester and he says that when a cold winter is ahead trees produce a chemical that will help the tree survive the cold and it is passed on to the acorns and it is fatal for some squirrels to eat them. Has anyone else heard of this before? ?

 
Extension Message
From: Laura Kammin
Visiting Extension Specialist, Pollution Prevention
Extension-Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant College Program
lkammin@illinois.edu
I haven't heard of that. This article might be of interest: http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/news/story/acorns_oaks112211.aspx

 
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