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Squirrelly Southeastern Minnesota


Fri, Feb 15th, 2002
Posted in

By John LevellMonday, February 4, 2002

While a select few see them as game to be hunted and eaten and some folks think they are cute and fun to observe, most Bluffland area residents view squirrels as just two or three species of tree-dwelling varmints that raid backyard bird feeders, damage field crops, and gnaw rodent-sized entryway holes into the eaves of our homes.

In reality, however, at least eight members of the rodent family Sciuridae, as zoologists call true squirrels, reside in the counties of southeastern Minnesota. The region’s apparent "squirrelly-ness" is not really all that surprising, when one considers that somewhere in the neighborhood of 260 species of squirrels currently exist in the world.

Like virtually all rodents, squirrels possess flat edged "chisel-like" upper incisors, which grow continually throughout the animals’ lives. This makes gnawing a necessity, as only the wear associated with the regular chewing of hard objects can prevent these teeth from growing excessively long. The various hard-shelled nuts, acorns and seeds many squirrels typically feed on meet this requirement well, although most must resort to supplemental gnawing on occasion.

Be that as it may, exactly half of southeastern Minnesota’s eight squirrels may be viewed as legitimate arboreal tree-dwellers. Each will, however, spend at least some time on the ground, with one species spending a significant portion of each day engaged in terrestrial foraging. None of the four tree squirrel species truly hibernates, although all will sleep away particularly cold and/or stormy winter days.

The Gray and Fox Squirrels are by far the most commonly seen and therefore the most widely known of the tree-dwellers, and are the two bushy-tailed critters most folks typically associate with the word "squirrel." Both species successfully survive in close proximity to mankind, existing quite well in City Parks, small forest plots, and even in lightly wooded backyards. The two species are both sometimes hunted for the table as well.

The Fox Squirrel is the larger of these two species, reaching an average adult total length (including tail) of just under 22 inches and a weight of perhaps 32 ounces or more. Fox Squirrels are readily recognized by the distinctive "rusty-orange" tinge to the fur, although sporadic all black individuals do crop up on occasion. Squirrel hunters further recognize the species by the color of t .....
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Dear Virginia

Fri, Feb 15th, 2002
Posted in

Virginia CooperMonday, Febraury 18, 2002

Dear Virginia, My houseplants are infested with fruit flies, what do I do?

If these little bugs look like fruit flies, the plants are probably infested with fungus gnats. Not a threat to your p ..... 
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Hope for a man with a big head

Fri, Feb 15th, 2002
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Monday, February 11, 2002

I went to a seminar last week and tried to pay attention. Speaker after speaker talked about how they had to wear many hats in their jobs. This made me start thinking about hats. My mind wandered. I, too, wear many ha ..... 
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Two Journal writers have books in the works

Fri, Feb 15th, 2002
Posted in

Monday, Febraury 4, 2001

Two Journal contributors have been busily working on books that should be coming out in the next few months.

Nancy Overcott

Nancy Overcott, whose column At Home in the Woods appears regularly in the Jour ..... 
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Fri, Feb 15th, 2002
Posted in

Fri, Feb 15th, 2002
Posted in

Fri, Feb 15th, 2002
Posted in

Fri, Feb 15th, 2002
Posted in

To the Editor,

Our legislators have had a large surplus of our tax dollars for the past six years. The legislators (both Republican and Democrat) have been on a spending spree, which in the last ten years has doubled the state’s budget.
< ..... 
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Submit a Letter to the Editorhere

Fri, Feb 15th, 2002
Posted in

February 4, 2002

To the Editor,

I am responding to the letter written by John Seem of Harmony in the January 13, 2002 issue of the Journal.

I will not disagree that war is a terrible thing and all, or most, that comes ..... 
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