if you look closely in the above picture, you will see the squirrel hanging upside down going after the monarch's clustered in the cypress located in the neighbor's yard at the Monarch Sanctuary in Pacific Grove, CA.
Here the squirrel has one and is eating it. When I first saw this back in November, i was amazed because i had always heard that monarch's had no natural predators others than humans and all the chemicals and habitat that we destroy. So docents started looking up squirrels and monarch's and it seems that the longer the monarchs live, the less potent the toxins become sin their bodies.
Remember, the milkweed that the caterpillar eats has a toxin in it that most animals will teach their young to avoid that orange and black butterfly. However, something seems to have happened that gave this squirrel a taste and it decided they were a pretty good source of protein.
I was doing my normal routine of taking pictures showing where the monarchs had moved to now and i saw a limb begin to bounce. Right away, i knew that had to be the squirrel again because that is what i saw happening last time However last time, i was busy being a docent at the sanctuary and did not have my camera with me. I was only able to observe the behavior through the binoculars. This time, i was ready. And the squirrel put on a show.
There were probably two thousand monarchs in the cypress when the squirrel started eating them as more and more flew away as it went from branch to branch, soon there were no monarchs in clusters on this tree. Many moved around and began sunning on the back side of it. However, it seemed that the squirrel had had enough and did not bother those guys.
what we have seen is that the squirrel only eats the abdomen of the monarchs. This does not kill them right away and many times they are able to fly and flutter around for quiet some time before dying. We have been calling them Zombie Monarchs. This fox squirrel is not native to this area. Now that we have seen repeated attacks on the monarchs, the Museum is looking at the possibility of trapping and relocating him. I have offered to start a go fund me page. My repeated threats of wanting some squirrel biscuits and gravy have not seemed to deter this squirrel one bit. And I say one squirrel, i really have no idea if it is just one. The two times i have observed this behavior there has only been one.