The Great Georgia Squirrel Migration of 1968

squirrel migration
The Great Georgia Squirrel Migration occurred in 1968, but they only flew into lakes.

By Jim Miles

The world’s most famous squirrel, Rocky, would never have behaved like his cousins did in Georgia during the great 1968 squirrel migration.

Ah, the ups and downs of the animal kingdom.  According to the Science News, suddenly in the fall of 1968 there was a squirrel population explosion in northern Georgia and other parts of the country.  The event was “quite sudden, with areas that a few days earlier were teeming with squirrels suddenly emptied and adjacent empty areas suddenly swarming.”  (The most troublesome aspect of this phenomenon is that we obviously paid people to keep track of abrupt squirrel movements.)  Naturalists were puzzled because hunger did not figure in the migration.  According to one game expert, road kill squirrels were “well fed, nice and fat, in good shape.”

Reason for the Squirrel Migration

The official explanation follows: 1967 produced a bumper crop of mast-acorns, walnuts, etc.-which allowed record numbers of squirrels to survive the winter and produce record numbers of squirrelettes.  Unfortunately, a late frost in 1968 (the whole squirrel world’s watching!)  severely reduced nut production.  The squirrels prospered during the bounty of summer, but come early fall squirrel nation realized that there would not be enough nuts for the non-hibernating creatures to store away for winter.  “Something akin to panic apparently set in,” the Science News noted.

Squirrels swarmed out of their home territory seeking storable nuts, producing “lemming-like determination to cross any obstacle” in their way, even large lakes, for which the animals were “completely unequipped.”  Apparently large numbers of them met King Neptune.

Jim Miles is the author of two Weird Georgia books, seven books about Georgia ghosts and eight books about the Civil War. To see all of his books go to the Jim Miles Author Page on Amazon. Order autographed books or contact Jim directly at milesbooks@cox.net

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