Is 2021 Going To Be A “Bad” Year For Squirrels In Maine?
Over the weekend, as I did some adventuring around Central Maine, one thing really stuck out to me - the number of deceased squirrels lining the sides of the roads. They were all over the I-95, Western Ave in Augusta, Riverside Drive in Augusta, and Route 202.
The sight of all these squirrels took me back to the fall of 2018. In case you were not in Maine in 2018, or somehow forgot what it was like, the 2018 was a HUGE year for squirrels. As a result, these critters caused a ton of power outages across Central Maine.
So, does this mean it will be the same in 2021?
According to The Farmer's Almanac, 2020 was a "mast" year for nuts and acorns. That means that there was a bumper crop, leading to a squirrel population explosion. Now, there are more squirrels fighting for food. Like the squirrel (or whatever it was supposed to be) in the movie Ice Age, they've started taking risks in order to get their claws on food. This risky behavior has lead to more squirrels dying on New England roadways.
It isn't just in Maine, either. According to a New Hampshire wildlife biologist, one motorist counted 390 dead squirrels during a 50 mile drive near the New Hampshire / Massachusetts border.
A bigger concern for most people, however, is the potential for power outages.
According to WGME, in a normal year, about 20% of power outages in Cumberland County are caused by squirrels. Most likely, this is true for the majority of Maine counties.
So, does the increased number of squirrels in Maine mean that we'll start seeing power and internet outages? If the population dies out quick enough, probably not. But, if the population remains high, we could be in for a repeat of 2018.
We'll just have to wait and see.
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