The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Squirrel plan doesn't sound too nutty

 

David Stevens

How do you catch a squirrel?

If it’s a rich squirrel, you have to climb a tree and act like a cashew.

link David Stevens

If it’s a mechanically inclined squirrel, you have to act like a 7/16 hex nut.

But if it’s just an ordinary tree squirrel, like those scampering around Colonial Park, you’ll probably need a cage and maybe some bird feed and peanut butter.

That’s the most likely plan if a couple of squirrel lovers can convince city officials to relocate a few of the Colonial Park Country Club critters to Hillcrest Park, about two miles to the south.

City Commissioner Randy Crowder is scheduled to present the proposal to the Parks, Recreation and Beautification Committee when it meets at 5:30 p.m. Monday at city hall.

There’s nothing sinister going on here, Crowder and Parks Director Bill Bizzell maintain. Squirrels are not stealing golf balls or pooping on the neighborhood children, and no one wants to eradicate any of the bushy-tailed nut collectors.

Crowder said his anonymous constituents love squirrels so much they would like to introduce them to the trees at Hillcrest Park, where they might also thrive.

“I have never seen a squirrel at Hillcrest Park,” Bizzell said.

Squirrels have only been in the Colonial Park neighborhood for a decade or so.

“The story I heard,” Bizzell said, “is about 15 years ago a guy who lived at Colonial Park was in South Texas and decided to catch a couple and bring them back so he could have squirrels in his neighborhood.”

Crowder said his constituents want to remain anonymous “in case anybody gets mad” about the moving plan.

Jake Swafford, a wildlife biologist who lives in Portales, said he can’t think of a reason to oppose the relocation, though effort should be made to avoid inbreeding.

The squirrels might be in Hillcrest now if not for natural barriers.

Traffic and concrete between the two parks tends to discourage squirrel travel.

Swafford said he’s no squirrel expert, but if you capture a squirrel and let it go next to a tree, “it will run up and make a home.”

Relocated squirrels would not likely try to return to Colonial Park for the same reason they haven’t tried to leave.

“If there’s no place to hide, if they can’t utilize their habitat, they’re not likely to go anywhere,” he said.

Time would tell if squirrels would love life in Hillcrest. The zoo would offer entrees the Colonial squirrels have not experienced, but they may want to beware the tiger and hyenas.

Squirrels are rodents, which might explain why Crowder’s constituents want to remain anonymous, but Swafford said he’s not aware of many negatives associated with the creatures.

“I can’t think of a downside unless there’s competing wildlife in the park. Squirrels can steal from bird feeders if there are any hanging.”

The animals are cautious of people and most won’t want to be handled.

“If you get your hands on them, and they don’t want you to, they can inflict some pretty serious bites,” he said.

Only a nut would try to catch a squirrel that way.

David Stevens is editor for Clovis Media Inc. Contact him at:

[email protected]

 
 

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