NPR from Illinois State University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

GLT's Grow: Why You Should Go Nuts About Squirrels

ground squirrel
Flickr/Creative Commons
A thirteen-lined ground squirrel, one of the most common types of squirrels here.

There's not a lot of in between on squirrels. People either think they’re annoying rodents or think they're cute critters and like to have them around.

In this edition of our gardening show Grow, GLT’s Mike McCurdy and Illinois State University’s Patrick Murphy come clean with their affection for the numerous central Illinois species of these nut lovers.

  • We’ve all seen the most common types of furry visitors—the thirteen-lined ground squirrel, the fox tail squirrel, and the eastern chipmunk. But evidence—specifically the discovery of food caches—shows southern flying squirrels are also making a home in McLean County, including ISU’s campus.
  • Do squirrels hurt or help trees? It depends on your point of view, Murph says. Ground squirrels can actually help because they’ll occasionally bury nuts, forget about them, and those nuts will propagate saplings that become trees. That means squirrels are accidentally cute little arborists.
  • Should you feed squirrels? Murph does. Murph feeds them corn. He keeps his trees away from his home’s roof, because squirrels shouldn’t be on buildings. “Other than that, I love them,” he says.

Listen to this week's episode below:
GLT's Grow is your source for gardening advice and down-to-earth tips. Murph and Mike are ready to take on all your gardening questions, so submit yours today.

People like you value experienced, knowledgeable and award-winning journalism that covers meaningful stories in Bloomington-Normal. To support more stories and interviews like this one, please consider making a contribution.

Ryan Denham is the content director for WGLT and WCBU.