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Are Squirrels Useful to the Ecosystem?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/25/2016 Category: Society
Updated: 8 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 361 times Debate No: 87259
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (5)
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Squirrels are useful and special. They keep the oak population in check, and are eaten by birds of prey, feeding the birds. They are the integral middle man, a treasure that we cannot destroy.


They eat innocent nuts, many seed-eating birds are in vicious competition with them for this. On top of that the trees themselves end up dominated by squirrels.; it's easier as they have live offspring and can just topple nests as they please.

Filthy squirrels just leeches!

As for the bird of prey argument, they rarely go for squirrels, squirrels are much too fast and agile on treets, catching a land based rodent like a mouse is far more alluring.

Even so, all squirrels do to the ecosystem is complicate it by adding several heirarchical stages to it involving them and complicating things is not being useful to them.

Perhaps they are useful to other animals within the ecosystem but they are certainly not useful to the ecosystem itself, it could function just fine and in fact more efficiently without the additional steps they are creating by existing within it.
Debate Round No. 1


Though not socially accepted in many places, eating squirrels is a viable option for acquiring lean proteins. Also, being food for humans contributes to the standing of a squirrel in its food web because more consumers eat it, therefore making it even more naturally important to the ecosystem.


It may be useful to entities within the ecosystem but it is not useful to the ecosystem itself as it actually works more efficiently with less species as it's simpler.
Debate Round No. 2


However, simpler is not necessarily better in a food web. Many animals contribute to and consume in a food web. It is healthy to have a large web of organisms so that nothing is the be-all end-all, and squirrels in this way are important. They provide ecological diversity to their food chain and web.


False, if there is only one species at each level if the ecosystem this is ideal because there wouldn't be unnecessary energy wasted on animals at equal stages fighting one another for territorial rights (energy from the nutrition passing up the foodchain).

Additionally, since the ecosystem is not a real thing and is a human concept, simpler concepts are the fastest to understand.

Not sure how you're judging it. Squirrels are not useful to the ecosystem they just don't destroy it.
Debate Round No. 3


To your earlier point about squirrels as acorn killers, their burying of acorns actually increases germination rates of these trees. In addition to this, they are commonly eaten by foxes, cats, birds of prey, and foxes. Also, to your last point about not being useful but at least not being destructive, they have enough positive output to verify and validate their usefulness as an important niche player in the food web.


They have no niche, other animals eat nuts and do any and all things they do for the ecosystem.

Birds of prey have a lot of other prey that are far more frequently eaten.

Your fundamental argument is that since squirrels have participated in several foodwebs that they ARE USEFUL TO the ecosystem.

If we took them out we'd miss out on next to nothing ecologically. They HAVE PARTICIPATED IN aspects of the ecosystem but are not themselves useful to it in any way. They are a 'filler' animal, an unecessary species.
Debate Round No. 4


And yet if your argument stands, all rodents are filler animals that provide the same purpose, which would mean that nothing is important. If you take every Jenga block out of the bottom, the tower falls, so the animals that share roles in a food web all have to be important in some way. By your logic nothing is important, which defies the idea of a food web illustrated by nature, or a situation where every organism is important and made equal to its Genus or Family. A squirrel may not be more important than anything else it is related to, but it is still an integral part of its food web for equally participating in a role that needs filling, no matter what fills it. In this way, when you take the squirrel down to its roots, it is an Everyman, not important as the individual, but important in replaceable and yet profound ways involving supporting something larger than itself. In this way, the humble squirrel truly is important to its ecosystem.

Thank you everyone, especially my opponent in this debate for giving me a great experience, and please vote PRO.


I wouldn't go so far as to say that I think all species are not useful to the ecosystem. Rats, for instance have essentially unique roles in India and many undeveloped yet urban environments. they are prey for many and yet survive despite it.

There are certain rodents, like the gerbil and rat s I just stated, who play very unique roles in their environments. They are definitely useful to the ecosystem and it would indeed suffer without them.

Pandas and tortoises are become near-extinct and do you know why barely anyone cares? Their role to the ecosystem has become redundant. I conceded to my opponent that at times in the past it is true that squirrels have played their role and enabled other species to fee don them or prevented too many of a species of tree that reproduces via nuts to prosper so easily. Nonetheless, they are now so redundant and replaceable that they only complicate ecosystems and if they went extinct, energy exchange in the hierarchy of the food webs involving them would run more efficiently as there would be less steps to achieve the same goal.

Pro keeps stating that playing a role is how we define usefulness but to deny that there is such a thing as too many roles is fallacious. Some stories could have run just as well if not better if certain filler characters had not been added to them but fiction is subjective whereas an ecosystem is objectively verifiable and there is absolutely no sign of a significant use for squirrels in them.

It was a good fight but as always I think I have won and concede nothing to your honorable self. Good first blood too, you may well become a proficient philosophy debater but I think you should stay away form the science debates. You reason well on a subjective level.

Thanks for this debate.
Debate Round No. 5
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by CravenSwine 6 months ago
finally a debate worth reading!
Posted by whiteflame 7 months ago
>Reported vote: TheRussian// Mod action: Removed<

3 points to Pro (Arguments). Reasons for voting decision: Pro put out several biologically valid points in the opening round that Con never really managed to adequately address. Con seems to misunderstand how exactly an ecosystem works with the phrase "Perhaps they are useful to other animals within the ecosystem but they are certainly not useful to the ecosystem itself".

[*Reason for removal*] The RFD contains two statements about points from each side that the voter found persuasive or not persuasive, but no actual explanation of the decision itself. Also, while the voter quotes Con, it's unclear why he perceives the statement at faulty, and the voter does not specifically assess any point made by Pro.
Posted by Shark34 8 months ago
This is my first debate, thank you for participating everyone.
Posted by Momo-Yasami 8 months ago
F*ck the squirrlls they are tasty and that is it
Posted by therocker6204 8 months ago
Hey Shark34,

I would like to debate that question, but it is very complicated. I honestly feel you would win automatically because you have sciences on your side. This is why I think I would have to forfeit if I went again you.

Good luck finding a solid opponent,

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