Pesky mushroom munching Squirrels ?

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Pesky mushroom munching Squirrels ?

Postby yotmon » Thu Sep 04, 2014 12:32 pm

Hi folks, 4 years ago I fortunately stumbled across a small area of woodland that had Porcini's growing (Boletus edulis). I managed to collect quite a few through September and October and would dry them for future use. The only problem though is a public footpath that runs straight through the growing area and quite a few dog walkers use the path. Last year was dismal with none found. Maybe someone else was collecting or it was just a bad year for mushrooms ?
This season I went a bit earlier (27/8) and found only one sorry specimen. It had been partially eaten by what I suspected were slugs. I went back last Sunday and found about half a dozen really small ones, again partially damaged/eaten. What I did see though was an American grey Squirrel running through the undergrowth with what looked like a mushroom in its mouth ! I became aware of another four Squirrels up in the trees. On further investigation I could see small scrapings in the litter where probably a mushroom had been removed, although there was no base left in the ground. Other types of mushroom are in evidence such as Russula, but these seem untouched. I called again this morning, but only found one the size of the end of my thumb !
Has anyone any knowledge or evidence that Squirrels will not only take mushrooms but will efficiently clear an area of them. Or am I barking up the wrong tree (pardon the pun) and should be looking at two legged foragers being responsible ?
"Success is going from failure to failure without a loss of enthusiasm." - Sir Winston Churchill
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Re: Pesky mushroom munching Squirrels ?

Postby Snags » Fri Sep 05, 2014 12:10 am

You need to eat more mushroom infused squirrel
yet to take the plunge still researching
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Re: Pesky mushroom munching Squirrels ?

Postby yotmon » Fri Sep 05, 2014 11:48 am

Unfortunately it's public land so therefore no hunting allowed, even though they are classed as pests. The local council have placed dozens of wooden nest boxes up the trees to encourage song birds to nest. All at the right height for the squirrels to gnaw through and take the eggs/chicks. Seen too much as bushy tailed friendly creatures - blame Beatrix Potter !
"Success is going from failure to failure without a loss of enthusiasm." - Sir Winston Churchill
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Re: Pesky mushroom munching Squirrels ?

Postby deeps-23 » Fri Sep 05, 2014 3:41 pm

doing my bit i trap greys regularly and dispatch them as per scottish law
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Re: Pesky mushroom munching Squirrels ?

Postby Dogfish » Fri Sep 05, 2014 5:37 pm

Squirrel Nutkin always seemed like a pesky little beast...

I dunno. I'm in killing season myself trying to keep them out of the walnut tree. 7 down, but this last one is a ninja.
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Re: Pesky mushroom munching Squirrels ?

Postby ped » Sat Sep 06, 2014 7:56 am

Personally I would say that they are not the culprits, I have no actual evidence to back it up other than in the areas that I collect there are plenty of squirrels and have never seen them eating any, but then again they have plenty of other stuff they can eat (acorns, cobs, chestnuts). Slugs, maggots and humans are my greatest advissary!.
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Re: Pesky mushroom munching Squirrels ?

Postby Snags » Sat Sep 06, 2014 11:09 am

yotmon wrote:Unfortunately it's public land so therefore no hunting allowed, even though they are classed as pests. The local council have placed dozens of wooden nest boxes up the trees to encourage song birds to nest. All at the right height for the squirrels to gnaw through and take the eggs/chicks. Seen too much as bushy tailed friendly creatures - blame Beatrix Potter !

Sling shots are silent
yet to take the plunge still researching
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Re: Pesky mushroom munching Squirrels ?

Postby yotmon » Sat Sep 06, 2014 12:44 pm

ped wrote:Personally I would say that they are not the culprits, I have no actual evidence to back it up other than in the areas that I collect there are plenty of squirrels and have never seen them eating any, but then again they have plenty of other stuff they can eat (acorns, cobs, chestnuts). Slugs, maggots and humans are my greatest adversary!.


The mushrooms grow in an area that has loads of Beech mast on the floor, plus Acorns, so they're not going short of natural food. We've had some rain overnight which may bring another flush of mushrooms in a few days time. I usually cut them off with a knife leaving the base in the ground, but this is what i'm not finding any evidence of, just a slight scrape in the leaf matter/debris as though a small animal has moved it. The mushrooms aren't getting big enough to be effected by maggots as whatever is eating them/taking them if doing an efficient job.
The wood's situated at the rear of a wardens centre and are frequently patrolled so any culling is definitely out. The grey is now well and truly 'naturalised' in this area. I first saw (and shot) one in 1989 and since then the population has exploded.
I think I need to call down every couple of days to see if I come across an explanation. It's a pity really, seeing as this is the only place I've ever found them growing and the amount I get once dried lasts the season for making risottos etc.
"Success is going from failure to failure without a loss of enthusiasm." - Sir Winston Churchill
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Re: Pesky mushroom munching Squirrels ?

Postby Dogfish » Sat Sep 06, 2014 9:35 pm

I do know out here the squirrels dig up the local truffles, so a mushroom doesn't seem too far fetched.
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Re: Pesky mushroom munching Squirrels ?

Postby ped » Sun Sep 07, 2014 8:27 am

Could be humans if there is nothing left as they may be plucking them straight out root base and all? What about deer?, maybe they are nosing them over and eating them?
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Re: Pesky mushroom munching Squirrels ?

Postby divani » Thu Sep 25, 2014 5:41 pm

Hi Yotmon,
Coincidently, I have been recently to the Yellowstone Park and in the woods around the RV camp there were lots of Boletus mushrooms. Many were preety large but gnawed by some animal, which intrigued us. One evening we did see a squirrel eating a mushroom. We did some research later (erratic wi-fi or internet in the park) and found out that not only squirrels eat mushrooms, they are generally considered imune to the poisonous ones. Look for squirrels and mushrooms in Google and you may find some very interesting reading.
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