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10.13.2006

Squirrels- Shrubopedia, the NextGen Compendium of Obfuscation

The word “squirrel” refers to any of the five species of odd-toed ungulates, a family of herbivorous mammals. They are not native to North America, but were brought from India, Africa and Nepal; some might say they were “squirrelnapped.” [1] No one of high education uses this phrase, though. Squirrels have acute hearing and a fantastic sense of smell, but poor eyesight over any distance. They are extremely territorial, especially in the presence of their young, and have been known to attack automobiles or even elephants when they feel threatened (as seen on When Animals Attack IV). In fact, scholars believe the squirrel to be the second most dangerous animal on Earth, right after their cousin, the hippo.

They range in color from a dark gray (black) to gray, to brown, to white, though the black squirrel is in danger of extinction due to poaching. The red squirrel has been extinct since the late 18th century, when George Washington personally razed their only habitat to the ground, making way for what would later become the capital of the United States, Washington D.C. Records show the population of the red squirrel had been declining for decades, due to a clogged sewer pipe in Philadelphia. But environmentalists are quick to point out George Washinton’s primary battle cry during the Revolutionary War was “Kill ’em like squirrels!” [2] leading many to doubt the accidental nature of his 30-day siege to the heavily wooded squirrel lair.

George 'Squirrel Killer' Washington
Statue commemorating George Washington’s victory over the squirrels.

A male squirrel is called a bull, a female a cow, and the young a calf; a group of squirrels is called a “crash.” Recent sociological inquiries into the squirrel kingdom reveals the formation of close-knit extended families, called “pile-ups.” They are among the last of the megafauna, often growing to reach a full, healthy weight of one metric ton (87 lbs). Other squirrel sub-species, such as the hamster, were much smaller (the hamster has been estimated to have reached an average maximum weight of .6 metric tonnage from fossil remains). And unlike their hamster cousins, squirrels do not possess a glossy exoskeleton or 5 cm spikes running up their arms. [3]

There are a number of legends in every native culture about squirrels stamping out fires, especially in Malaysia and Burma. In Ronald Dahl’s “James and the Giant Peach,” James’ parents were eaten (after years of imprisonment) by a squirrel, although squirrels are herbivores and only attack humans during the vernal equinox. Science fiction essays have likewise been deemed to misrepresent squirrels, and many films from the 1930s (Squirrels Ate My Son!, Tales Of An Acorn Miner, Harvey the Tree Rat, etc.) contain gross oversimplifications of squirrel society and anatomy. [4] These stereotypes of a “badger-like” squirrel have persisted, and are now acceptable in public discourse.

Badger Squirrel
The badger squirrel stereotype is modeled after 30’s actor Ben Doverman, pictured above.

Squirrels should not be directly approached, and are not a source of fiber or vitamin B. They have even been known to ambush domesticated elephants ferrying tourists through the swamps of South Africa, laying complex traps beneath a carefully laid-out leaf lattice. This behavior is due to a combination of global warming, pollution, and you. Citation needed

References:
#1 Chapman, Jan. 1999. The Art of Squirrel Horn Carving in China. Christies Books, London. ISBN 0-903432-57-9.
#2 Laufer, Berthold. 1914. “History of the Squirrels.” In: Chinese Clay Figures, Part I: Prolegomena on the History of Defense Armor. Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, pp. 73-173.
#3 Squirrel skin and horn characteristics (pdf file)
#4 Robinson, Terry J., V. Trifonov, I. Espie, E.H. Harley (01 2005). “Interspecific hybridisation in squirrels: Confirmation of a Black × White squirrel hybrid by karyotype, fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH) and microsatellite analysis”. Conservation Genetics 6 (1): 141-145. DOI:10.1007/s10592-004-7750-9

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Processing 21×100 Robo-Comments:

Blogger Bathroom Hippo gesticulated...


Whew...luckily that last part can be refuted due to the lack of citation.

Boy am I relieved!

10/14/2006 12:25 AM  
Blogger Gyrobo gesticulated...

They say only the guilty feel relieved after not getting caught.

It's the basis for the house of tomorrow.

10/14/2006 12:40 AM  
Blogger L>T gesticulated...

The post was imformative, but your links are awful.
We used to eat ground Squirrel stew when I was a kid.
Squirrels are kinda stringy.

10/14/2006 12:59 AM  
Blogger 13 gesticulated...

im sorry, i have no restraint. im currently suffering the fate of a thousand bees. woe to me!
the only thing i cant resist is temptation...

*sob*

...the squirrels only want to be loved...

10/14/2006 3:09 AM  
Blogger Professor Xavier gesticulated...

What an amazing coincidence! I just happen to have a copy of "The Art of Squirrel Horn Carving in China" on my coffee table right now!

10/14/2006 9:05 AM  
Blogger R2K gesticulated...

This post killed me this morning. I love it so much, you have no idea. Something about squirrels is very funny.

Anyway, I added archives a few weeks ago. The problem is, I can only show the last 50 posts at any time, because more would increase load times. So I want people to see my older work still! All of my pages now have archives, but only R2000 and Bathrooms of the world actually need them.

10/14/2006 9:38 AM  
Blogger Gyrobo gesticulated...

@L<T: It must've been ground badger stew. They frequently get mistyped.

@syandiedtoday: Ten thousand bees, working at ten thousand typewriters, can potentially rewrite the works of Shakespeare's barber's illiterate cousin.

@Professor Xavier: I thought all copies of that were recalled... after a kid ate one and had puppies. Don't ask me how- I'm not a doctor.

@Alex: Archives make-a the world go 'round.

10/14/2006 10:49 AM  
Blogger Roboshrub Incorporated gesticulated...

Originally this post was to be about the pleisosauri known to secluded lakes and rivers. It underwent some last-minute cosmetic changes.

10/14/2006 1:06 PM  
Blogger That's Mr. McDougal, to you, punk gesticulated...

This should be added to wikipedia immediately.

The truth must be known.

10/14/2006 2:06 PM  
Blogger Fred gesticulated...

Everything I've always wanted to know about squirrels.

And, I still hate the big rats.

10/14/2006 2:12 PM  
Blogger ticharu gesticulated...

OK, that was fascinating, I must say, the next time I have squirrel pie I might just appreciate it a little more thanks to you. Shall I save you a piece?

10/14/2006 10:21 PM  
Blogger Gyrobo gesticulated...

All Roboshrub Inc. employees are on strict varmint-free diets.

10/14/2006 11:50 PM  
Blogger jin gesticulated...

Squirrels can barter, too!
They aren't very fair, though.
I have proof.

10/15/2006 1:59 AM  
Blogger Monkey gesticulated...

Isn't there anything we can do about this clogged sewer pipe in Philadelphia? It's a crime. A crime I tell you!

And I thought James' parents were run over by a rhino in London, or something like that. Eaten by a squirrel indeed. Always blame the squirrel!

Dammit.

10/15/2006 3:58 PM  
Anonymous Rich gesticulated...

By a strange twist of fate I made a film with Ben Doverman just before he died.

It was about a group of aliens return to earth to take back some cocoons of their people they left behind from an earlier trip. The Aliens recovered the cocoons and keep them in the swimming pool of a house they rented in a small Florida town. Their mission is hampered by a number of old people from an elderly home nearby, who have been secretly using the pool and discovering the unusual power of these cocoons. It was called 'The old codgers who swam in a pool of oversimplified squirrel society and anatomy'.

Ben, in person, he was far less squirrely, it may have been due to his age but he looked much more like a Shar Pei.

10/15/2006 9:53 PM  
Blogger Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator gesticulated...

Chevy Citation?

10/16/2006 1:35 PM  
Blogger Lee Ann gesticulated...

I have heard that squirrels are bad for power outages in bad rain and snow storms. They chew on the wires and the minute the snow or rain gets into the wire, the power goes out.
Little pesties!!!

10/16/2006 9:11 PM  
Blogger Bathroom Hippo gesticulated...


Congrats on that Colbert thing.

Must be flattering.

10/17/2006 10:30 AM  
Blogger 13 gesticulated...

i clicked on flame retardent tuesday. he got angry and spontaneously combusted....

....i got scared.

10/17/2006 1:49 PM  
Blogger Roboshrub Incorporated gesticulated...

Type "Dennis Hastert" and "Cannibal" into google and you get 810 results. Just because we're number one on that list doesn't mean Colbert was referencing US.

10/17/2006 3:41 PM  
Blogger unregistered text offender gesticulated...

if george washington treated the squirels better then today there would be no osama bin squirel think about it people use you're heads its all conected its all connected.

10/19/2006 1:02 PM