UPDATE 09-24-2009: Recent movement by the bushytail horde in West Virginia prompts us to reprise our exposé of skwerlien migrations. See the Chicago Tribune story for details of the WV incident (opens in new window) and our historical perspective below...
PART 1: SKWERL MIGRATION - HISTORY OF THE CRISIS
Patriots, pathetic skwerlverts often criticize us for giving their precious skwerls disparaging names. For example, they whine that it's inappropriate to refer to the demonic nutzys as the bushytail horde. They argue that skwerls to do not gather en masse and go on insane rampages. We know better...
Skwerls first appeared on the planet at least 30-35 million years ago. The exact locale is uncertain except that it was somewhere in western North America. Some, mostly pathetic skwerlhuggers believe that a mythical tree, called The Tree of Delicious Nuts spawned the first bushytails (see link below). The tree supposedly grows somewhere between Vancouver, British Columbia, and Seattle, Washington, according to the heresy of Orthodox Skwerlhuggery.
From their primordial beginnings during the Oligocene epoch of the Cenozoic era, the slavering chitterboxes spread around the world, invading one continent after another (click here for a Cenozoic Timeline - requires Flash - 576k).
This nutzy plague moved at a relentless pace, first from North America to Asia. Then into Europe and later into Africa. Finally, around 3-4 million years ago the rampaging skwerliens crossed a newly formed isthmus from North America into South America (click skwerl for comment).
Did the bushytail horde's mission end with the conquest of South America? Or did secondary migrations occur?
Pathetic skwerlhuggers believe that there's been no mass movement of skwerls in over 3 million years. They maintain that skwerls do not migrate; that they are territorial; and that they rarely move beyond their nutzy preserves. Again, we know better...
Patriots, the mass movement of slavering chitterboxes in modern times is well-documented. Consider the observations of Lewis and Clark in 1803:
September 11, 1803 (Lewis): We embarked at sunrise. We passed about five islands. I observed a number of black squirrels swimming the Ohio, swimming very light and at a very good speed. I assume they are moving south for the weather.
September 13, 1803 (Lewis): It was clear this morning so we set out at sunrise... The squirrels continue to cross the river from north-west to south-east.
September 14, 1803 (Lewis): We couldn't leave today until 11 o'clock because two of my men got drunk and we couldn't find them. When I found them I brought them on board, without their help being that they were so drunk... It was here that we were informed of two women who had contracted malaria who lived on the bank just below. I saw many squirrels today and had my dog catch a few.
September 15, 1803 (Lewis): I noticed today many squirrels swimming the river although one was going the opposite direction, south-east to north-west.
Merriweather Lewis' observations are the first known reports of skwerl migrations from a reputable source.
Lewis assumed that the migrations occured in response to seasonal changes. However, it's rumored that his classified report to President Jefferson carried a more dire warning (click Lewis for report - 142k wav).
It's unlikely that the skwerl migration Lewis and Clark observed was the first, and it certainly wasn't the last...
In 1811, Charles Joseph Labrobe wrote in The Rambler in North America of a vast squirrel migration that autumn in Ohio:
A spirit of change and a restlessness seemed to pervade the very inhabitants of the forest. A countless multitude of squirrels, obeying some great and universal impulse, which none can know but the Spirit that gave them being, left their reckless and gambolling life, and their ancient places of retreat in the north, and were seen pressing forward by tens of thousands in a deep and sober phalanx to the South. No obstacles seemed to check this extraordinary and concerted movement: the word had been given them to go forth, and they obeyed it...
Skwerlball migrations across the upper Mid-West, New England and/or as far south as the Carolinas were also observed in 1809, 1819, 1842, 1847, 1852, and 1856 (click skwerl for comment).
These nutzy movements were no small matter. In southeastern Wisconsin in 1842, one gray squirrel migration lasted four weeks and involved, according to one observer, nearly half a billion squirrels.
The horrific effects of the bushytail horde's blitzkriegs are best described by John James Audubon and John Bachman, in their 1845 work The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America:
...the squirrels congregate in different districts of the far North-west; and in irregular troops bend their way instinctively in an eastern direction. Mountains, cleared fields, the narrow bays of some of our lakes, or our broad rivers, present no unconquerable impediments. Onward they come, devouring on their way every thing that is suited to their taste, laying waste the corn and wheat-fields of the farmer; and as their numbers are thinned by the gun, the dog, and the club, others fall in and fill up the ranks, until they occasion infinite mischief, and call forth more than empty threats of vengeance.
AUDUBON'S SKWERLS - CLICK FOR LARGE VERSIONS
That a vengeance was required can not be doubted. The western expansion of the American nation was clearly in peril.
Fortunately, brave Patriots mounted to the task. They constructed barriers to the bushytail hordes movement by deforesting the woodlands, expanding urban areas, building roads, damming the rivers and otherwise demolishing the nutzy empire of the time. In some cases, the maniacal chitterboxes were directly engaged in horrific battles in which the defenders of civilization risked all...
UNPARALLELED BRAVERY IN THE FACE OF OVERWHELMING ODDS; CLICK FOR LARGE VERSION
Of course, that was then and this is now. Today, many assume that the skwerl migrations of the past are no longer a threat in the present. Or are they...?
PART 2: THE ROAD TO RUIN
There can be no doubt that the great skwerl migrations of the 19th century ended as urbanization, deforestation and commercial agricultural blocked the chitterboxes' invasion routes.
However, smaller-scale migrations were observed well into the 20th Century as described by E. T. Seton in 1921 and
E. W. Schorger in 1949.
Of particular interest are the skwerlien activities of the mid to late 1960's. Long time Patriots will recognize this as the period during which Tufty the Traffic Safety Squirrel seized control of the bushytail horde and its drive for squirrel world domination...
In 1968, the Smithsonian Institution's Center for Short-Lived Phenomena reported unusual nutzy activity throughout portions of the eastern United States from Vermont to Georgia (click scientist for comment).
At the same time, an article in the Asheville, North Carolina Citizen of September 15th reported hoards of squirrels emigrating from Maggie Valley, North Carolina. This was followed during the next two weeks by other newspaper accounts of vast mass migrations and unusual activities such as swimming lakes, damaging farmers' crops, or entering areas where they had previously been absent. Source: Vagn Flyger, Contribution No. 379, Northeast Fish and Wildlife Conference, February 1969.
This chitterbox rampage was unusual and spectacular enough to be noticed by sportsmen, motorists and farmers as well as game wardens and biologists.
The migration was also aided and abetted by those minions of squirrel world domination, pathetic skwerlhuggers.
For example, local newspapers, radio and television stations reported the activities but greatly distorted the situation. Some went as far as to advise people to feed chitterboxes on the assumption that an abundance of skwerls combined with a nut shortage was the problem.
Signs in supermarkets and elsewhere gave similar advice in the North Carolina area, and some people responded by sending checks to the North Carolina Game and Fish Department to help pay for squirrel food. These traitorous skwerlverts demanded that the Department undertake a squirrel-feeding program immediately.
Elsewhere, enterprising but traitorous Tennesseans organized skwerlhugger volunteers in Florida to gather acorns for shipment to Tennessee.
However, saner minds recognized the peril to the nation. The Tennessee Game and Fish Commission opened squirrel season early and doubled the bag limits in an effort to turn back the gamboling tide of maniacal skwerlballs (click nutzy for comment).
In the end, not even Tufty's supposed expertise in traffic safety could prevent the disaster that befell the bushytail horde. For the great nutzy rampage of 1968 was stopped not in a hail of lead, but by that great symbol of the modern age, the automobile...
The number of dead squirrels on the highways was spectacular. For example, Mr. C. M. Teseneer, Game Protector, reported 28 dead squirrels on a 22-mile stretch of highway, over 100 dead squirrels on an 80-mile stretch, and 100 dead specimens on a 27-mile stretch -- all near Asheville, North Carolina. On September 24th, I counted 48 dead squirrels on a 32-mile stretch of road near Asheville. Wildlife Protector Thomas Osborne of Boone counted 50 squirrels on a 5-mile stretch of road near his home on the 18th of September. Source: Vagn Flyger, id.
Size does matter - click skwerl for comment
The Vagn Flyer study is the last major report on skwerl migrations to date. However, Vagn Flyer found no definite, natural cause for the rampage. Even the most popular assumption, that food was in short supply turned out to be wrong:
None of the squirrels examined in the laboratory (about 30, including 16 collected by shooting) appeared emaciated or gave any indication of being in poor condition. Some animals were infested with warbles (Cuterebra) but there was no indication that the squirrels were either under any form of unusual stress or trying to escape areas of high population density because of intraspecific strife. The food supply was certainly adequate to feed all of the squirrels at the time of the unusual activity... No other suggested explanation for squirrel movement seems to be consistent with available knowledge. Theories involving stress and starvation are untenable and parasites do not seem to be involved. Source: Vagn Flyger, id.
Vagn Flyger correctly noted that skwerlien migrations decreased in frequency during the 20th century, but he was unable to define the causal factor for the skwerllballs' maniacal meanderings. However, we recognize the bloody red hand of Tufty the Traffic Safety Squirrel in all nutzy frenzies.
We also know that the threat didn't end in 1968. In October 1991, a report in the Wall Street Journal estimated that over 34 million skwerls are killed on the nation's roads every year. Clearly, the slavering chitterboxes are ever on the move.
Moreover, these invasions aren't always on a grand scale. For example, 440 Chinese ground skwerls attempted to invade Europe after landing at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam during spring 1999.
By luck, the nutzy plot was uncovered by KLM Airlines baggage handlers who alerted authorities. The invaders were destroyed under orders from the Dutch Ministry of Nature Management in a machine normally used to slaughter poultry (20 escaped and are still unaccounted for; KLM was fined $14,300.00, with half paid to the National Association for Animal Protection).
More recently, Fire Island, New York was terrorized by a single immigrant prairie dog dubbed "Fire Island Philomena"; while on the other side of the continent, the mysterious Chipmunk 1344 was apprehended trying to enter California stowed away in a Honda Insight (see links bellow for more info).
Europe, too, remained vulnerable to skwerlball incursions. For example, residents in Glastonbury, Somerset, England found themselves face-to-face with a drooling prairie dog known only as "Gizmo." There was no adequate explanation for how the p-dawg came to be thousands of miles away from the American prairie.
And in the halls of academia, English researchers noted how reforestation "provided a bridge between forest fragments, allowing an influx of new genes carried by 'foreign' squirrels."
Patriots, it is comforting to know that enlightened urban sprawl and deforestation have reduced the threat of mass skwerl migrations in the modern age. But, as the incidents above demonstrate, the danger remains. Worse, we may return to those more horrific days of yore if reforestation becomes a priority and those responsible are but nutzy minions planting trees to spread skwerlien oppression. Thus, we must remain ever-vigilant and always do the right thing in our efforts to defeat squirrel world domination
NEWS CLIP: 2009 WV SQUIRREL MIGRATION
DISCOVERING LEWIS AND CLARK
JOHN JAMES AUDUBON
THE TREE OF DELICIOUS NUTS
VAGN FLYGER'S REPORT ON SQUIRREL MIGRATION
KLM FINED FOR SHREDDING SKWERLS
WWF FOREST RESTORATION PAGE
HEALTHY FORESTS INITIATIVE
THE NATURE CONSERVANCY
STALKER'S GUIDE TO INTERNATIONAL MIGRATION
THE GLOBALIZATION GUIDE
CLICK TO HEAR TUFTY SING
Should I Stay or Should I Go
Original by The Clash (mp3)
Patriots, the Wall Street Journal article cited above estimated that 34 million skwerls are killed on the road each year. It also noted that millions of other animals are also slaughtered on our nation's highways.
Now, some might say that this is just collateral damage; a small price to pay in freedom's defense. And, by the skid (brake) marks in front of the 'coons, possums, deer, cats and dogs, we surmise that most folks aren't aiming to hit these critters.
However, we'd be remiss if we didn't cover all the bases. After all, what if some drivers are running over anything that crosses their path because they don't really know what a skwerl looks like?
Well, we'd like to remedy that situation. After all, knowing the enemy is half the battle. So, for those who need to know, and assuming you do recognize dogs and cats, here are sample photos of skwerls and other critters for comparision purposes...
THERE IS A DIFFERENCE... KNOW IT!
L-R: skwerls, raccoon, possum, deer - click thumbs for large versions