The Urbanization of the Eastern Gray Squirrel in the United States

Etienne Benson

Teaching the Article

Exercise 6: Immigrants, Poachers, and the Limits of Community

While urban squirrels provided opportunities to encourage charity and strengthen a sense of community, they also provided opportunities to distinguish between those who belonged in the community and those who did not. Exclusion and inclusion were two sides of the same coin. Those who were unwilling or unable to treat squirrels with charity and kindness became targets either of moral reform, if they were children, or of persecution, if they were adults. Italian immigrants were often accused of hunting urban squirrels and songbirds for food and thereby lowering the moral quality of the community, as reflected in these two articles.



  1. “Struck Down by Poachers,” New York Times, Dec. 17, 1900, p. 10, available at the New York Times Article Archive:
    Local copy of article (JPG)
  2. “This Italian Must Beware,” Cambridge Tribune, Oct. 10, 1903, p. 6, available at the Cambridge Public Library:
    Local copy of article (JPG)