What is vermin?

   Vermin is a generic name given to the smaller animals that damage man's crops or other estate or prey on his domesticated animals, and insect pests such as the bed-bug, cockroach, and louse. As thus used, vermin includes the smaller mammalia and certain kinds of birds. It is unquestionable from the ranks of the quadrupeds that the great majority of vermin are drawn. Thus in gamekeeper's parlance all the weasel tribe — stoats, polecats, and weasels — are typical vermin. Hedgehogs are equally vermin in his eyes, because he believes they devour the eggs of game — a belief utterly without foundation. The destruction of hedgehogs, in fact, should be discountenanced, considering the service these ani­mals perform in removing noxious insects. Eats and mice, especially field mice and field voles, may increase in such numbers as to destroy large quantities of grain, and thus become decidedly destructive vermin, while serious loss may also be caused to the farmer by hares and rabbits as well as by rodents. Among birds, Many of the rap­tores are destructive to game. The falcons, hawks, and kites are vermin in this sense; so also are crows, owls. and magpies; but as the latter feed chiefly on mice and other small quadrupeds they are beneficial to man by repressing animals far more truly named vermin than themselves.