Squirrels Run Wild Through Saco’s Roadways

This fall you have likely noticed a drastic increase in dead Squirrels on our roadways. While driving from point A to point B you are certain to see a dozen or so in the middle or side of the road. What is causing this phenomenon to happen and how is this affecting the locals?

Josh Delcourt, a teacher who specializes in Maine wildlife gave some insight about his beliefs as to why this is happening. “You have lots of squirrels because two good years in a row created an especially large population. Now they’re forced to travel greater distances across the landscape to find food, in the process crossing roads like the highway.” That explains why there is an increase, but there must be more than just the remaining adults?

“The other thing that’s going on would be that the second batch of offspring just left the nest in late August and September. They’re very naive to danger and they have about a 90% mortality rate. So a lot of these squirrels we’re seeing are juveniles just leaving the nest but there are also adults being hit too,” said Delcourt.

Contrary to popular belief, squirrels do not hibernate, but they are not fond of the bitter cold we face during the dead of winter. They gather nuts as they sense the temperature dropping in preparation for the winter so they don’t need to go out in the elements as often. There are currently too many squirrels for the amount of food and vehicles are acting as a way of population control.

There is no better example of this natural population control than what Doug Hitchcox tweeted about on September 4th. While Hitchcox drove I295 and I95, he tallied 311 roadkill squirrels over a 260-mile trip. That is an average of 1.2 squirrels per mile. Crews don’t know what to make of it. Maine DOT spokesmen Ted Talbot said that crews clean up roadkill when they see it or someone asks them to do so. There’s not much that they can do though. “We’ll just keep cleaning them up,” Talbot told the Portland Press Herald.

At this point, the squirrel population has returned back to normal and the roads have cleared. But it wasn’t long ago when it resembled an apocalypse, it seemed like everywhere you drove you had to worry about running a squirrel over. This isn’t the first time this has happened and it most certainly won’t be the last.

Latest posts by Cameron Schaffer (see all)

, , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Educating students for more than 200 years.