Squirrels go nutty for Fredericton light displays
Some hungry squirrels have driven officials in downtown Fredericton to pull the plug on outdoor tree lighting.
Non-profit business improvement organization, Downtown Fredericton Inc., spent more than $10,000 putting LED lights on the large trees along Queen Street for the winter. But the capital city's grey squirrel population has developed a taste for the plastic bulbs.
"They don't draw a lot of power so the lights don't get warm, and they look like little nuts, so the squirrels think they can eat them, and that's what they've been doing," said Bruce McCormack, general manager of the organization.
Initially the association hired a contractor to replace the bulbs the rodents chewed from the trees, McCormack said. But with 18 strings of light on each tree and the apparent tastiness of the bulbs, it has become too expensive to keep sending contractors up the trees, he said.
"They have to find them and repair the breaks, so we're just going to remove them all."
The same strings of lights will remain up in Officers' Square, where the city maintains an outdoor skating rink during the winter months, for now.
"We're going to try to keep those up and running," McCormack said. "We'll take a look at what we're going to do with the rest of Queen Street at a later date."
In the meantime, officials are trying to come up with ideas of how to protect the lights or wean the squirrels off the plastic, McCormack said.