Date of this Version
A telephone survey of Kentucky nuisance wildlife control operators (NWCOs) (n=66) was conducted in April of 1997 to assess their knowledge and practices regarding nuisance gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) release-site habitat. Thirty-three percent of NWCOs (n=22) trapped and relocated >1 nuisance gray squirrel in the previous year and these individuals/companies were selected for the survey. NWCOs trap and release >1,700 squirrels annually in Kentucky. Sampled release sites varied in size from 18 to 5,200 acres, and >70% were classified as poor to marginal habitat. Three of the release sites sampled provided adequate to optimum gray squirrel habitat. Actual release site habitat quality was in direct contrast to the opinions of NWCOs regarding suitable gray squirrel habitat. NWCOs’ responses to questions concerning winter food, cover, and reproductive requirements indicated that they understood and were selecting suitable gray squirrel habitat components. Results of this survey indicate that thousands of squirrels are being translocated to both private and public land annually, with unknown consequences on survival and population demographics. Furthermore, although Kentucky NWCOs have an adequate understanding of the biological requirements of gray squirrel habitat, they are selecting unsuitable release sites.