Monday, 17 August 2009

Broken Squirrels

Shortly after returning from the lake district recently I was sat in my local with a friend and we were discussing the complexity of reintroducing red squirrels to the south. The concept is referred to in ecological circles as humpty dumpty communities. The intruder greys came in and won dominance over the red squirrel. It seems the solution is simple, remove the grey squirrel and reintroduce the red squirrel but it is far from that simple. A species often has different requirements to establish themselves in an environment. A certain insect or plant which has long since died out may be required in abundance to allow the red to reach the necessary numbers in the initial stages in order to survive in an environment long term. Many people say they prefer the red squirrel but ultimately evolution has led to the rise of the grey squirrel and as much as many would like to see a predominantly red england again, what right do we have to tamper with the progression of nature?

The grey squirrel is larger, more aggressive and more of their progeny are likely to survive infancy. This clearly placed them at an advantage over the more timid, less hardy red squirrels.

This concept is best explained by Olivia Judson(one of my heroes). Whilst I was in the lakes I asked my fiance(a northern lass) why the grey squirrels dont seem to have penetrated the lake district(loads of red squirrels and I've never seen a grey in the lake district). Her reply made me laugh "we're better shots than you".

I am aware that some of my readers are avid gardeners and I would like to ask for any tips when it comes to battling white fly on my pepper plants. Every year about 75% of my plants are ruined by the little buggers.


Sage said...

Try growing marigolds nearby or even around the pepper plants.. the smell they exude is supposed to keep white fly away from cabbages, onions etc so why not peppers...

Like the fiance's answer, Dad used to like shooting the squirrels, we have had a walnut tree in the garden for over 20 years and never a walnut... because of the squirrels. I believe that one year his haul was over 25 and one of the neighbours even tried squirrel casserole from the plundered bodies.. :-)

Asclepius said...

hehe circle of life! thats genius.

Many thanks I'll try the marigolds and see what happens.