Squirrels an Endangered Species?

Meaning the common squirrel that you see all over the place (at least here in Jersey). My sister-in-law had a bunch of them invade her home recently, and she was told by a couple of exterminators that they could not poison or otherwise harm the squirrels as they were an endangered species and protected by law. They could only drive them away and release them somewhere else.

This sounds hard to believe, as these squirrels are all over the place. I looked a bit on line and found some stuff discussing various species of squirrel, but I’m unsure of the technical name for the ones we have here.

Can this be true? And on what basis?

I’m mainland, so this might not apply.

Red squirrels are, IIRC, protected. Normal greys are not. In fact, if you catch one, you are legally required to kill it. I know this because I had the little sods in my loft for a while. Luckily we blocked the hole wilst they were all out one day (at least I hope they were), so the girlfriend is still talking to me.

Anyway, commiserations to your SiL. There’s nothing quite so disconcerting as the pitter patter of tiny feet in your crawlspaces. Not to mention the fleas.

A link to the Bromley Borough page that confirms the licence to kill.

I assume that IzzyR is speaking about the state of New Jersey, while Bromley is thinking about the Channel Island of Jersey. With these kinds of questions, it is always helpful if you state your location clearly.

The Eastern Gray Squirrel Sciurus carolinensis is native to eastern North America but has been introduced in the UK. It is not considered threatened in North America. I am not aware of any laws that prevert them from being poisoned, trapped, or otherwise controlled, but I suppose there could be some local regulations. My mother, who lives in the Bronx, has periodically had squirrel problems in her attic, and the local exterminators seem to have no compunctions about poisoning or trapping.

The European Red Squirrel Sciurus vulgaris, however, is threatened by competition with the introduced Eastern Gray Squirrel in the UK.

The North American Red Squirrel Tamiasciurus hudsonicus is yet another species, but it is not endangered.

It it’s New Jersey, perhaps it’s the Delmarva fox squirrel.

Me again. I think that you have Reds in Jersey, which would explain the protection thing. Do they look like this?

In which case, the basis is that the Red is losing the old survival game on the mainland and so has been protected by the same Act that condemns the Grey.

On preview I see that I might have your location wrong.

We had fox squirrels around our house, when we moved in back in 1986. They lived in the roof of a wing but could not get into the main roof of the house. Then we had an ice storm and the limb they used to get to the roof was torn off the tree. They just disappeared and for a couple years there were no squirrels. Now the grey squirrels have taken over. I mention this only to show the fox squirrel is in Mississippi and therefore must have a larger range than stated above.

The Delmarva Fox Squirrel above is an endangered population or subspecies, not an endangered species, hence the difference. Fox Squirrels in general are common as dirt - I have plenty in my neighborhood as well.

Whether mere populations deserve protected status if the rest of the species is doing fine is a seperate, and contentious, issue. Out where I live we have the endangered San Francisco Garter Snake, certainly one of North America’s most colorful snakes, but it is formally listed as just as geographically restricted subspecies/population of the extremely widespread Common Garter Snake, Thamnophis sirtalis*. Should such a unique population be protected? I’d say so, but there are plenty who’d disagree.

  • Tamerlane

Yeah, if there are any red squirrels in NJ, there can’t be many. It’s the gray squirrel we see alllllll over the place.

Once again, Bromley is referring to the Channel Island of Jersey (in the English Channel), not New Jersey.

There are lots of (North American) Red Squirrels in New Jersey. However, they are found mainly in areas dominated by pines or other conifers. Eastern Gray Squirrels are much more common in urban and suburban areas.