Thursday, June 03, 2021

A Children's War on Squirrels

In 1918, California’s horticultural commissioners launched a week-long campaign enlisting school children to poison ground squirrels with laced grain.

The rational: ground squirrels were eating crops needed to feed the troops in Europe.

Bounties and contest prizes were advertised on 34,000 posters and 500,000 leaflets — some of which featured squirrels wearing German helmets and sporting Kaiser-reminiscent mustaches.

When “Squirrel Week” ended on May 4, children had turned in 104,509 tails, but this was probably a fraction of the total casualties.

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