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Notes and Reflections on Books and Media

by Hannah Leitheiser


Our Vanishing Wild Life: Its Extermination and Preservation

William T. Hornaday




"A live squirrel in a tree is poetry in motion; but on the table a squirrel is a rodent that tastes as a rat smells."

"All tree squirrels and chipmunks should be perpetually protected, as companions to man, unfit for food."

"The killing of squirrels should be prohibited; because they are not white men's game."

"The gray squirrel should be perpetually protected,—because he is too beautiful, too companionable and too unfit for food to be killed. Even the hungry savages of the East Indies do not eat squirrels. "

"For goodness sake, Wisconsin, stop killing squirrels as "game!" You ought to know better—and you do! Leave that form of barbarism for the Benighted States."

Yeah, Wisconsin. Did you lose a civil war while we weren't looking?

(Our Vanishing Wildlife, Horniday.)

Horniday seems to like (living) squirrels.

"Weasels and foxes and skunks are interesting, and they do much to promote the hilarity of life in rural districts, but they do not destroy insects, and are of comparatively little value as destroyers of the noxious rodents that prey upon farm crops. ...If there is any positive evidence tending to prove that the small carnivores that we class as "vermin" are industrious and persistent destroyers of noxious rodents—pocket gophers, moles, field-mice and rats—or that they do not kill wild birds numerously, now is the time to produce it, because the tide of public sentiment is strongly setting against the weasels, mink, foxes and skunks."

Sorry, Skunkie, you don't seem as much favored.


"Wherever he is or whatever his numerical strength, the red squirrel is a bad citizen, and, while we do not by any means favor his extermination, he should resolutely be kept within bounds by the rifle."

Just the gray squirrel is safe, though. Kill the gingers.