Dry Weather Can Cause Squirrel Shortage

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Whether you love them or hate them, there might be fewer squirrels thanks to the drought. Iowa’s Department of Natural Resources says because of the dry weather squirrels are going to have a hard time finding acorns.

"There are cycles with the nut bearing trees where some years they produce better than others and moisture is a big part of the equation,” says Vince Evelsizer, a furbearer biologist, for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

With winter right around the corner squirrels depend on them now.

"They like to visit feeders and play, eat and store up food for the winter,” says Vicki Grudzinski, manager at Teske’s Pet and Garden Center.

"There's simply less food available for them in the woods and that's an important food in the fall and winter,” says Evelsizer.

Evelsizer says more of a mild winter will help the squirrels out, "If we don't have a bad winter, the affects of the light mass crop will be less.”

Teske’s Pet and Garden Center sells a lot of squirrel feed and says they’re not sure what they’ll do if there is a squirrel shortage.

 “We might sell a little less food and we might sale more if people are trying to entice them back."

Not everyone wants to see them go, like Moline Resident, Donna Collins.

 "I think they actually add to the charm of the neighborhood,” says Collins.

But the DNR also says they don’t recommend people trying to help them.

"Even though they have a tougher year, it's better to let them make their way on their own,” says Evelsizer.

He says trying to feed them can actually put them at risk, "It can increase the odds of them spreading diseases to each other or bring at risk of predators that the food is laid out in the open."

 "This is a beautiful time of the year and they just kind of add to the enjoyment of it. I'm use to seeing them,” says Collins.