Squirrel Invasion of 1801
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Starting on September 1, 1801 the town of Newport, Kentucky faced an invasion by tens of thousands of squirrels. This was highly unusual, since squirrels are normally solitary creatures and there were no reported disasters in the area such as wildfires or earthquakes which might have triggered this invasion. The locals attempted to shoot them, but thanks to the huge number of squirrels they scarcely made a dent into their population.

For some reason the squirrels appeared as mesmerized and plunged into the Ohio River to swim across to Cincinnati, Ohio - where the forewarned locals already waited for them with their own guns. It took several days to get this plague under control.

A highly probably cause of this sort of thing - as in many cases of sudden mass migrations of small mammals is a combination of population stress and food source exhaustion. Typically some unusually abundant food source causes the animals to congregate and/or reproduce in an area until it is massively above its normal carrying capacity … abundant resources not only sustain their numbers and encourage them to breed, but artificially shrink their territory requirements. When the resource is exhausted the animals find themselves both hungry and overcrowded and so will all start to relocate at once, not always in an apparently rational manner. This sort of thing is behind the legendary suicides of lemmings and the periodic Indian rat floods.

See Also

  • News: Squirrel Power! - modern day squirrel kamikaze attacks targeting the power grid



Game and Story Use

  • A Summon Animal Spell gone terribly wrong?
    • Or perhaps gone right?
    • Someone liked eating squirrel pie and made a badly phrased wish?
  • Perhaps some horrible ritual was in progress in Cincinnati, and the squirrels sensed its unnaturalness and attempted to stop it…
    • Or they were running away from something in Kentucky…
  • Possibly some kind of pied-piper at work.
  • Or some alchemist, mad scientist or other meddler cooking up a super-powerful synthetic squirrel pheremone (or nut essence).
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