Thursday, January 07, 2010

Squirrels (and Salamanders, Etc.)

Oh my...squirrels! For hundreds of years Ocracoke was without these cute but sometimes destructive critters. Then, several years ago a neighbor (I won't mention any names) released a pair. With all of the oak trees in the village they have thrived. It is not uncommon to see them scurrying from branch to branch along Howard Street.

Here's another comment on squirrels from island resident, Leonard (pictured with his banjo):

"Hey Philip,

"One of your many blog followers recently asked if there are any squirrels on Ocracoke.Well, not counting the two-legged variety, there might be some. I frequently see them on Back Road, in the neighborhood of Rob and Sundae's house.

"Then there is this cheeky fellow who apparently likes banjo music."

Oh yes, salamanders -- none on the island that I know of. I'm pretty sure there aren't any. Maybe someone else knows for sure.

Nor do we have possums, raccoons, or skunks. Deer are a very recent arrival, and minks were set loose here about twenty-five years ago. A bear occasionally swims over, but never stays long. And, we have nutria (also known as Russian Rats).

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter discusses place names on Ocracoke. You can read it here:


  1. Anonymous12:31 PM

    No raccoons??!!! I hate raccoons even more than I hate squirrels! Now I'm REALLY jealous!

  2. Anonymous2:23 PM

    About salamanders - I have seen them various times while visiting Ocracoke. Happy New Year all!

  3. Anonymous2:42 PM

    Are there any tasty nutria recipes developed by OI residents? I understand Louisiana chefs think the are might tasty. mink are these animals a protected species or are hunting permits issued?.

  4. I've never known anyone to eat nutria, at least not on the island. Most of the mink live on NPS land, so no hunting is allowed, though I'm sure the Park Service would like to get rid of them.

  5. Anonymous3:44 PM

    NPS could allow a controlled hunt in the non-tourist season. They do that for feral pigs on Cumberland Island in Georgia

  6. I don't believe there are foxes on Ocracoke either.

  7. Anonymous6:13 AM

    I just did a Google search engine web search and the pages that resulted, from my entry-- Nutria recipes -- was eye popping. A Nutria Chile cook off the potential for a festival is there. It is a heart healthy low fat source of protein. The Damage they cause with unfettered population growth will be exponential. Don't mean to be gloom and doom but stop calling them russian rats and start gobbling them up. Serve a meal on OI founders day. When is Founders Day on OI?>

  8. Foxes? we have no foxes, although the red fox has been reintroduced on the mainland, and I saw one a number of years ago on the lower Nags Head peninsula.

    Nutria?...I think it will be a while before anyone sees nutria on an Ocracoke plate (just a hunch of course!). Nutria have been on the island for generations and they seem to have little impact. We only see them occasionally.

  9. Anonymous9:06 PM

    any hawks?

  10. We occasionally see hawks as well as Ospreys and Eagles, but they are not common. Since I wrote this post we now definitely have raccoons and possums on the island!