Tuesday, October 9, 2007


So I couldn't resist. Although this isn't a human virus, I think it has particular relevance to our campus and the war of the squirrels we have here. Apparently, grey American squirrels were imported to England and are absolutely ravaging the native red squirrel population. Not only do they boss around the reds, they also have a virus that kills the reds, but which they appear immune to: squirrelpox (exclamation point). Anyways, this descendent of William the Conquerer has gotten 148,000 pounds (think of all the possible virus work we could fund) from the British government to control the population of the greys. When asked about his techniques, he said the following: "“What is this ‘method of cranial concussion’?...Why not just say ‘hit on the head’? Sounds better.” It's estimated that 2/3 of the greys carry the virus.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/07/magazine/07squirrels-t.html ("Squirrel Wars" appearing in the NY Times Magazine on Oct 7)
Nasty pictures: http://www.cockermouth.org.uk/squirrels/squirrelpox1.jpg
My favorite: http://www.e-ayrshire.co.uk/local/redsquirrel/gallery/PoxDead%20copyright%20C.Bruemmer.jpg

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