April 1st, 2016
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He then spent six years in the Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge in Colorado, along with Charles Brown of the University of Tulsa, Oklahoma – and watched the squirrel death toll soar to 163.
“It boggles the imagination that something like that was going on under our noses and we didn’t notice,” says Hoogland. He describes the killings as “quick, subtle and unanticipated”.
While some prairie dogs chased the squirrels, others stalked them, waited outside their burrows or even dug babies out of their holes. They bit them to death and then abandoned the carcass and resumed foraging on nearby vegetation.
“The killer supreme killed seven babies from the same litter in one day,” says Hoogland.
Over the years, about 47 prairie dogs killed squirrels, and 19 of them were serial slayers, including one female who dispatched nine squirrels over four years.