Critters vs. Varmints

Real Estate Agent with GreatWest Realty DRE# 00827565

Do you know the difference between a critter and a varmint?  In my yard, I have a large population of brown squirrels.  They are frequent visitors like the one pictured.  These guys are really cute, and I love watching their antics as they scamper among my trees, and around my yard.  But as delightful as they may be, they are truly varmints.  I say that because they gnaw on things they aren't supposed to.  They like to chew on the corners of my gazebo, and I've caught them red-handed gnawing on the siding near the eaves of my house, while creating a hole into the attic.  The brown squirrels and I have an ongoing dialogue about their behavior, but they are a rebellious group of varmints.

On the other hand, the grey squirrels come in fewer numbers.  They are wonderful critters, that make excellent friends to share my yard with. 

I only wish I could turn those varmint brown squirrels into critters:-)


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Kathy Clulow
RE/MAX All-Stars Realty Inc. Brokerage - Uxbridge, ON
Trusted For Experience - Respected For Results

Myrl - We also have a large population of squirrels and chipmunks around our home ..... all of them are "varmints" regardless of how much we enjoy their antics they are a pain most of the time.

Mar 03, 2011 03:48 PM #5
Sharon & Bruce Walter
Keller Williams Realty Lafayette, IN - Lafayette, IN
West Lafayette homes for sale

Myrl, I did not know the difference.   ^_~    I do remember my televison education from Ellie Mae Clampitt that critters were nice animals!

Mar 03, 2011 03:49 PM #6
Tony & Darcy Cannon
Aubrey and Associates Realty - Layton, UT
The C Team

Myrl, those squirrels can be a nuisance, regardless of how cute they may be!

Mar 03, 2011 05:40 PM #7
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Myrl, Here, our gray squirrels are varmints too!  They used to chew the wooden deck rails up!  Now that we've put in metal spindles...well they have to go elsewhere :)

Mar 03, 2011 10:14 PM #8
Janice Roosevelt
Keller Williams Brandywine Valley - West Chester, PA
OICP ABR, ePRO,Ecobroker

I know humans complain about squirrels, but as your photo indicates they are darn cute

Mar 03, 2011 11:21 PM #9
Richard Iarossi
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Crofton, MD
Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate


I'm having an ongoing fight with the squirrels in my yard about not eating the flashing on my new windows. I'm losing.


Mar 03, 2011 11:51 PM #10
Toni Weidman
Sailwinds Realty - Trinity, FL
26 Years Selling Homes in New Port Richey, FL

Myrl - we only have gray squirrels and they must be in communication with your browns because they do all those things; including eating the lead pipe vents on the roof. They are really cute though especially when they get too much lead in them- you've heard the term "squirrely".

Mar 04, 2011 12:39 AM #11
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Kristine - Oh yes, those little bulb eaters.  I recall one particular autumn.  I planted dozens of bulbs for a beautiful spring.  Unfortunately, I went out a couple mornings later and found about 25% of them half gnawed and laying on their sides on the ground.

Cynthia - I've had the bird feeder problem too.  But, I have refrained from hanging one out in recent years, to save myself from the frustration.

Margo - I have a vacation feeder for my cat which sits atop a picnic table on my patio.  I put it there so the dog couldn't get to it and eat all the cat's food.  But the squirrel herd makes no bones about eating every bit as much as the dog would have:-)

Mar 04, 2011 03:51 AM #12
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

I wonder what type of squirrel we have in Northern Virginia?  I think they are gray squirrels, but I wouldn't know.  I'll have to pay closer attention.

Mar 04, 2011 03:53 AM #13
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

John - It is amazing how damaging they can be.  I had to replace the roof to my gazebo because they gnawed away the structural integrity.  After it was replaced, they started to go after it again.  I actually used metal door hinges at the corners to keep them from doing the same damage all over again.  It has helped a bit.

Kathy - There was one summer when I was doing everything in my power to limit the squirrel population.  Then I had a tree trimmer come, and he accidentally, dropped a whole nest of them to the ground.  So, here I was trying to limit the population, and I had this nest of 3 babies, who couldn't fend for themselves that needed to be fed and cared for. . .It was a dilemma; but I took care of the little varmints:-)

Sharon and Bruce - Oh yes, The Clampitts.  Ellie Mae always caled them "critters."

Mar 04, 2011 04:05 AM #14
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Tony and Darcy - I simply can't understand how something so cute can be so destructive, but then I have grandkids:-)

Liz and Bill - Other readers seem to also be having the same complaints with grey squirrels too.  I guess because they don't visit as often, I was putting all the blame on the brown ones.

Janice - They are really cute, but try reasoning with one of them.  When I caught one red-handed gnawing on my gazebo, I decided to talk to him about it.  He just laid on that roof, looking down at me.  I threatened to "thin him from the herd," but he could have cared less.  He was back chewing again the very next morning.

Mar 04, 2011 04:10 AM #15
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Rich - I live in a populated area, so I can't shoot them.  I doubt I could muster what it took to harm one anyway. .What are you trying to do, if anything?

Toni - Other readers have stated that the grey squirrels are every bit as destructive as the brown ones.  I guess I'll need to move them from "critter" to "varmint" classification too.

Chris - Our grey squirrels are larger, have prettier bushier tails than brown squirrels.  And of course their color is different.

Mar 04, 2011 04:15 AM #16
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

This is the best photo I have ever laid eyes upon of a brown squirrel. You can just see the mischief in its eyes, too! My mother had a slingshot that she used to use on the squirrels in her yard. When she turned to a BB gun, it was time for my mother to step away from the squirrels, ma!

Mar 04, 2011 06:25 AM #17
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

Oh, the benefits of having dogs!  The squirrels don't stand a chance in our yard.  Pesky varmints.  We have one that sits on the back fence and taunts the squirrel chaser.  They'll have a face off for minutes on end.  Since I have the dogs I never realized they could do that much gnawing.

Mar 04, 2011 08:05 AM #18
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Elizabeth - Your mother and my mother sound very similar.  When I was growing up, my family lived at a house on Bret Harte Court, right off Broadway.  We really had a squirrel issue there.  One Saturday morning, my mother got tired of watching a particular squirrel chew on the roof.  So what does she do?  She takes out her 25 calibre pistol to shoot the varmint.  But, she can't remember whether it's loaded or not.  Therefore she thought it necessary to point the weapon at the bedroom wall, and fire.  It went straight through 3 bedrooms, and exited the front of the building.  By then the varmint was long gone.  I never knew if we lost any neighbors during that escapade:-)

Carla - I have a dog.  But the dog must think they are cute, because he never barks, chases or bothers the squirrels.  Yes, squirrels can do a lot of gnawing and damage.

Mar 04, 2011 08:10 AM #19
The Scott Loper Team Bux-Mont Premier Properties
Keller Williams Real Estate - Montgomeryville - Lansdale, PA

Hi Myrl,

We must have grey squirrels because we don't have problems with them chewing anything (although they do love our bird feeders).  I didn't know there was a difference.


Mar 04, 2011 09:33 AM #20
Chris Alston
Chris Alston (Keller Williams Realty, Silicon Valley, California) - Campbell, CA
Silicon Valley, California

So funny!  Did you say varmit with drawl?

Mar 04, 2011 09:51 AM #21
Bob "RealMan" Timm
Alliance Real Estate - Minot - Minot, ND
Bob Timm, Broker Associate, Alliance Real Estate

Myrl, a good picture of a squirrel on a tree is a hard shot to get. You have one of the best shots I've ever seen.

Mar 04, 2011 02:06 PM #22
William Johnson
RE/MAX Associates - La Jolla, CA
San Diego Real Estate Voice, GRI CRS e-Pro CDPE

Hi Myrl, And which would I be looking at here, the brown (varmint) or the grey critter? BTW, that is a great photo. I have a red fox ( head and hide only) that I could simulate like this but I would have nail it's little feet to the tree to take the photo. And I just couldn't do that. LMAO

Mar 04, 2011 02:14 PM #23
Jennifer Fivelsdal
JFIVE Home Realty LLC | 845-758-6842|162 Deer Run Rd Red Hook NY 12571 - Rhinebeck, NY
Mid Hudson Valley real estate connection

Myrl what a lovely photo.  I have never been able to get one of these critter to hang around long enough for me to take a photo.

Mar 07, 2011 12:31 AM #24
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Myrl Jeffcoat

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