The Facts Of Squirrels
If you live in an area with trees, chances are you’ve seen a squirrel or two. But what do you know about these creatures? Here are some interesting facts about squirrels that may surprise you.
The Meaning & Origins Of The Name Squirrel
The origin and meaning of the name “squirrel” have been shrouded in mystery for centuries. It may have come from combining two Greek words, skiouros, from skia, meaning “shadow,” and oura, meaning “shadow-tailed.” This could refer to the bushy tail of a squirrel that casts a shadow on its back when it is out foraging for meals or resting in its tree hollow. Another possibility is that the word comes from the Anglo-Saxon word scirfe, meaning “bushy-tailed creature.”
6 Sensational Things About Squirrels You Might Already Know
- A squirrel’s teeth will continually grow, so they must constantly chew things. Chewed fence posts, windowsills, and attic rafters are an easy target for a squirrel’s teeth which cause structural damage.
- When food is plentiful, squirrels eat 1.5 pounds per week which is their average weight.
- Squirrels are considered good luck.
- There are squirrels in every Canadian Province, with 22 species throughout the country.
- The idiom “squirrel away” comes from the constant habit of squirrels storing nuts for later use.
- Because of the position of a squirrel’s eyes, they can see behind them.
The different types of Tree Squirrels & Ground Squirrels
Most squirrel species are widely known as those furry rodents with bushy tails, but there is much more to them than meets the eye! There are over 280 species of squirrel – including tree, ground, flying, and even pygmy squirrels. Tree squirrels live high up in trees. Ground squirrels take up residence either under the ground or deep in burrows. Flying squirrels have flaps of skin that enable them to glide from one tree to the next. Lastly, pygmy squirrels are no bigger than 2 inches long! Each type of squirrel has its own unique traits and habitats that make a fascinating addition to any ecosystem.
American Red Squirrels – are small animals found throughout North America. They have reddish-brown fur, rounded ears, and a bushy tail. Red squirrels are active during the day and specialize in gathering and storing nuts for winter. To build their food caches, they will bury nuts or seeds under the bark or soil of trees or stumps. Red squirrels communicate with one another through a variety of vocalizations, body postures, and movements. They also use scent marks to communicate territorial boundaries with one another. Their diet consists mainly of seeds and buds, but they occasionally eat eggs, bugs, or small mammals if food is scarce. The red squirrel lives in coniferous forests with open canopies and old-growth forests with dense canopies; they often shelter in tree cavities. In addition to being an important part of many North American ecosystems, red squirrels are also a beloved sight amongst nature enthusiasts due to their often playful personalities and mischievous behaviour.
EASTERN GREY SQUIRREL
Eastern Grey Squirrels – Sciurus Carolinensis, commonly known as the eastern grey squirrel, are one of North America’s most commonly seen mammals. They have soft grey fur with white bellies and a white tip at the end of their tail. grey squirrels are diurnal, meaning they are active during the day and sleep at night. Eastern Gray Squirrels prefer to live in wooded areas like parks, forests, and suburban yards that provide fare and shelter. They eat nuts, insects on fruits, acorns, fungi, bark and bird eggs. They bury food underground at various locations near their nesting area or den sites to store grub for later use. Depending on where they live, these squirrels can build nests out of leaves or twigs high in trees or inhabit abandoned creepers’ dens. Eastern Gray Squirrels can be quite vocal; they chatter when happy or angry and give off a loud alarm call when predators such as hawks or cats disturb them. Grey squirrels are social creatures who constantly interact throughout the day by chasing each other around trees and playing tag games with their tails and paws. These charming little rodents play an important role in the ecosystem. The burrowing behaviour of Sciurus Carolinensis helps aerate the soil, while their caching activities spread seeds for new plants to grow from.
Fox Squirrels – The Delmarva fox squirrel is a large type of squirrel found typically in the coastal areas of Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware. They have salt-and-pepper-coloured fur, with white bellies and tails that fade to yellowish at the tips. Their face is distinctive, with flat nose and black cheeks. The average body length of an adult Delmarva fox squirrel is about 16 inches long, with a tail of about 12 inches in length. These animals weigh between two to three pounds and are considered one of the largest tree squirrels in North America. Although they are primarily herbivorous animals, they also eat eggs or small birds when available. Unlike other squirrels who live alone or in pairs, Delmarva fox squirrels often inhabit larger groups of up to 20 individuals in a single territory. In particular, they enjoy acorns; as such, they can often be found collecting them from trees during autumn for storage during colder months. It’s also worth noting that these animals are great climbers and spend much time running between branches at dizzying heights. The Delmarva fox squirrels’ habitat has been threatened by urbanization, leading many conservation efforts to be undertaken throughout its range. For instance, the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve has created numerous wildlife sanctuaries specifically designed for fox squirrels over the years to protect them from deforestation and other threats posed by human activity within their range.
The Groundhog is a type of rodent that is closely related to the squirrel. Groundhogs are large mammals with brown fur and short, stubby tail. Groundhogs typically weigh between 4 and 8 pounds.
Chipmunks belong to the family Sciuridae and are small rodents found throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. They have a distinctive dark vertical stripe and small round ears on their faces. They are omnivorous and subsist mainly on small insects and acorns, walnuts, hazelnuts and pine cones. They typically live in forests, grasslands or scrubland habitats and create burrows underground with multiple entrances for sleeping and storing food. The average lifespan of a chipmunk is 3-5 years in the wild and up to 8 years in captivity. During mating season, males will fight each other for access to females by standing on their hind legs while chattering their teeth fiercely. Although they are mostly solitary creatures by nature, they sometimes form groups of up to 10 individuals to help defend against predators such as foxes or hawks. Chipmunks also have several distinct vocalizations, such as chirping or whistling during an alarm or when warning of danger. They are also known for playing dead when confronted with danger which helps them avoid predation by surprising predators with their sudden stillness. Their diet consists mainly of seeds, but they will also eat fruits and vegetables if available. In addition to providing important ecological services such as seed dispersal, they serve an important cultural role in our lives, serving as popular cartoon characters like Alvin from the Animaniacs show or Dave from the Disney movie The Chipmunk Adventure.
Flying Squirrels are an incredibly fascinating mammal. They belong to the Sciuridae family, which comprises other tree squirrels, ground squirrels, and prairie dogs. Flying squirrels have a unique adaptation not seen in other mammals: they can glide through the air using their special patagium. This membrane stretches from their forearms to their hind legs, allowing them to ‘fly’ substantial distances over open terrain. Unlike regular squirrels, they cannot climb back up once they’ve descended from a canopy, so they often take refuge in hollow trees or den sites on the ground. Flying squirrels generally have short bodies with wide eyes and soft fur coats ranging from brown to grey. They typically weigh around 170-220 grams, making them smaller than most other squirrel species. They primarily eat nuts and seeds in the wild but will also eat bugs, fruits, buds and fungi. Interestingly, flying squirrels do not fly; instead, with the help of their patagium ‘wings,’ they glide through the air for up to 200 feet or more! During the flight, these tree squirrels can reach speeds of almost 30 mph and even turn corners by adjusting the tension in their membrane wings. Even more impressive is that they can use their tail as a rudder to steer themselves away from obstacles during a gliding descent. Furthermore, when landing after a long glide, these squirrels use their large hind legs coupled with specialized toes that act as brakes to slow down before touchdown. There are roughly 50 different species of flying squirrels around the world, but only three of them exist in North America. These species include the Northern Flying Squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus), Southern Flying Squirrel (Glaucomys volans), and Humboldt’s Flying Squirrel (Petinomyshumboldti). Each species has its unique characteristics that make them excellent flyers. The Northern Flying Squirrel is the largest of the bunch, with a wingspan measuring up to 11 inches across. It has dark fur and a large tail used as a rudder while flying. The Southern Flying Squirrel is slightly smaller, usually measuring between seven and eight inches across its wingspan. It has light gray-brown fur and is primarily nocturnal. Humboldt’s Flying Squirrel is smaller than its cousins, with an average wingspan of five to six inches. Its fur is reddish-brown on top and white underneath and can be seen darting around trees in areas from western Mexico to southern Oregon. All three species have strong legs for leaping from branch to branch, long fingers for grasping branches, and soft, furry membranes between their limbs for gliding through the air with ease.
African Pygmy Squirrels
African Pygmy Squirrels are unique, small squirrels native to the African continent. They are the smallest known squirrels in the world, weighing no more than 28 grams and having a body length of just 10 cm. As its name implies, these squirrels live primarily in trees and shrubs throughout the rainforest regions of Central and West Africa. Its long, bushy tail helps it balance navigating through branches, while its large ears provide excellent hearing to detect potential predators. These native squirrels have reddish-brown fur with white stripes on their sides, back and head predominantly. They mainly eat nuts, fruits, bugs and other invertebrates. It is an active forager who often travels long distances searching for food. During the day, this type of tree squirrel typically remains within dense canopies where it is safe from potential predators such as eagles or hawks. At night they hide inside tree holes or nests built with twigs and leaves high up in the branches. These creatures are also social mammals that live in family groups composed of several individuals. They are capable of communicating via complex vocalizations during times when they need to show aggression or dominance over another member of their group. The African Pygmy Squirrel is important as it plays an integral role in seed dispersal and controlling populations of certain bugs and pests due to its voracious appetite for them. This cute little creature’s population numbers are decreasing at an alarming rate due to illegal hunting, habitat destruction and fragmentation caused by deforestation activities within its range. As such, conservation efforts must be implemented before the African Pygmy Squirrel becomes extinct from our planet!
Ground Squirrels are a type of rodent found worldwide in many habitats. They are most commonly recognized for their burrowing habits and mounds of dirt left behind due to their digging. The Ground squirrel can vary in size, ranging from about 6 inches to 14 inches long, and can weigh anywhere between 4 and 24 ounces. Depending on the type of ground squirrel, they can be diurnal or nocturnal, meaning they come out during the day or at night. They feed primarily on vegetation such as roots, fruits, and flowers but have also been known to scavenge carrion. When alarmed, they warn other squirrels while they scurry away into their burrows. Some ground squirrels hibernate during winter when food is scarce; this helps them conserve energy until springtime when eats becomes more available again. Ground squirrels have even been known to use tools such as digging sticks or rocks to help with their digging activities while searching for edibles! Aside from being fascinating little creatures with various adaptations that help them survive in the wild, these squirrels also play an important role in our ecosystems by providing a valuable food source for predators such as hawks and foxes.
INDIAN GIANT SQUIRREL
Indian Giant Squirrels, also known as the Malabar Giant Squirrels, are an impressive species of rodent native to India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. These squirrels have a unique appearance, sporting a black and white striped pattern with a russet red back and tail, which helps camouflage them in the forest. An adult Indian Giant Squirrel can reach lengths of up to three feet from head to tail tip and weigh as much as two pounds. This large squirrel prefers spending time in dense forest habitats where it spends its days foraging. The diet of Indian giant squirrels consists mainly of nuts, fruits, grasshoppers and caterpillars. These native squirrels reside in tall trees; they must rely on their agility to jump across branches quickly, which they can do with ease thanks to their long tails! These remarkable rodents are solitary creatures who build nests over two feet wide out of twigs and leaves high up in the treetops. During mating season, the males display territorial behaviour by marking areas with their urine and making loud noises from their throats. Sadly these fantastic squirrels face extinction due to increasing deforestation activities that are destroying their natural habitat, and it’s crucial to help protect them before it’s too late.
Where Do Squirrels Live?
Squirrels are adaptable and can live in many different habitats, both in nature and urban environments. In nature, squirrels make their homes in tree holes and on the ground, often building nests of twigs and leaves called dreys. Squirrels living in forests or woodlands prefer to relax in the crooks of tree branches or up high among the leaves for protection from predators. They will also inhabit burrows dug by other animals, as long as it is warm enough. They may be seen scurrying along rivers, lakes and ponds along branches that hang over water to catch fish or aquatic insects. Squirrels even live in deserts, rest in cacti shade during the day and come out at night when it is cooler. In urban areas, squirrels have been found living just about anywhere they can find sustenance; parks, gardens, yards and balconies are popular nesting sites. They will take advantage of easy handouts from people like bird feeders or trash cans but can also find sustenance among plants like flowers, trees and shrubs. Given the right circumstances, some squirrels will even make their homes inside human dwellings; this is especially true with flying squirrels, who need access to dark places such as attics or basements to build their nests. However, not all squirrels will make their homes indoors: the grey-headed flying squirrel is particularly adept at finding secluded corners outdoors where it can shelter securely for extended periods. Additionally, ground-dwellers such as a chipmunk may set up camp temporarily near sheds or garages if food supplies are readily available.
When Do Squirrels Mate?
In most wild animals with a short gestation period, squirrels included mate between late winter and early spring, usually January through April; this gives the babies a better chance of surviving the following winter. Grey squirrels have a second round of babies in July and August. The female’s estrus period, when she can become pregnant, usually lasts about a week. The male squirrel can smell a female squirrel in heat from over a kilometre away and will pursue her and make sounds known as chucking to communicate. After mating several times, the female will construct a nest in a tree, rock crevice or attic using leaves and twigs. She will then give birth to anywhere from one to eight babies after a gestation period of approximately six weeks. The baby season follows shortly after the mating season, typically between March and June, depending on the squirrel ty and geographic region. At this time, two to eight offspring are born blind and helpless, relying on their mother for warmth and nourishment until they become more independent at 8-10 weeks old. Young squirrels spend their first few months learning how to climb trees, find food sources and develop social skills needed for survival as an adult.
Baby squirrels are some of the cutest critters on the planet! They are tiny and adorable, with their big eyes and soft fur. At birth, a baby squirrel is so tiny it can fit into the palm of your hand. As they grow up, however, they become larger and more active. Young squirrels learn to climb as soon as they leave the nest for the first time, using their sharp claws to grip branches or bark. They also love to play when given the opportunity; chasing each other around trees or rolling around in leaves can be entertaining! Along with playing and climbing, young squirrels enjoy cuddling up in cozy nooks during their nap times. It is important to note that feeding baby squirrels directly is not recommended because of the risk it poses to their health – providing a safe source of food, such as dried fruits, is best for them. All in all, young squirrels are genuinely delightful creatures to observe in nature – even if you don’t get too close!
Creatures as varied as polar bears and ladybugs share one common element – predators. A predator is a species that evades capture by preying on or hunting other creatures. These prey are food for the natural chain of life, and their presence can indicate a healthy environment. Polar bears, for example, hunt seals in their Arctic habitat, while ladybugs feast on aphids in gardens. Identifying an area’s particular predators is the first step to understanding its delicate balance of wildlife and their essential roles in keeping the ecosystem intact.
Why Are Squirrels Considered Pests By Some People?
Several species of wildlife, like squirrels, raccoons, rats and other rodents, may be considered annoying by some people due to the problems they can cause in homes and businesses. Squirrels can cause damage to the attic and vents, requiring wildlife removal and roof repair companies to fix. Many of these animals are disease carriers; they may contaminate food sources, chew through wiring, which can lead to fires or substantial electrical damage, and nest-building materials such as insulation offer a home for fleas and mites. Rodents also create noise pollution, are a nuisance in urban areas and can cause costly damages. For these reasons, it’s not hard to understand why many people consider them a menace.
Conflicts Between Squirrels and Humans
Squirrels and humans can often be at odds with each other due to their conflicting interests in certain areas. For example, squirrels may find themselves attracted to human-created food sources, such as bird seed found in bird feeders in backyards. This leads to a situation where the two species compete for limited resources. Not only can this cause problem for people who wish to protect their food sources, but it also impacts the health of wild squirrel populations as they become reliant on accessible food sources provided by people. This conflict between man and squirrel is further complicated because these small rodents can also damage property and gardens by chewing on things they shouldn’t. Additionally, their energetic nature makes them more likely to find themselves in hazardous situations, such as crossing busy roads or coming into contact with domestic animals. As a result, it can be difficult for humans to manage these creatures’ presence without causing harm, meaning that these conflicts often have no easy solution.
What Attracts Squirrels To Your Yard?
With their large eyes, fluffy tails, and playful antics, Squirrels bring undeniable charm to any yard. They can be incredibly fun-loving creatures that spend hours playing in the trees or chasing each other around your property. The most common reason these furry critters are attracted to your yard is the food sources available there. Squirrels love things like birdseed, berries, and even fruits from fruit trees. They may also forage for insects and grubs in the ground. Besides food sources, squirrels are also attracted to yards with tall trees where they can find plenty of places to hide and build nests. If there’s a water source nearby, such as a pond or birdbath, that can draw them in as well. The presence of hollow tree trunks or woodpiles is another major draw for these critters since they create cozy hiding spots perfect for nesting away from predators and harsh weather conditions. Finally, squirrels are extremely territorial, so if you already have a few living on your property, they may bring friends over!
How To Get Rid Of Squirrels?
Getting rid of squirrels can be difficult without the help of a professional squirrel removal company. Hiring an experienced wildlife company with nice reviews is best. The first step is to identify the squirrel damage where they are getting inside, install a one-way door, and seal up any potential entry points with chew-proof materials. This includes inspecting the attic, chimney, roof, windows, and other vulnerable points to ensure no openings for the squirrels to get in. Once all possible openings have been sealed up, it is important to remove any food sources or nesting materials that may be attracting them. This could include trimming nearby branches and removing bird feeders, which may provide a food source for the squirrels. Traps can also be used humanely to catch squirrels and relocate them. However, if this is not viable, chemical repellents should be applied in areas where the squirrels are known to frequent. These repellents should contain ingredients such as ammonia or cayenne pepper that will make these areas unappealing for the squirrels to inhabit. Additionally, ultrasonic sound frequencies have also been known to drive away troublesome critters like squirrels. These steps can effectively reduce their problem with pesky squirrels in their home or garden.
Squirrels Play An Important Role
There are many different types of ground and tree squirrels in the world, each with unique adaptations that help them survive in specific habitats. Some squirrels are considered pests by humans, but these creatures play an essential role in their ecosystems. By understanding more about these fascinating creatures, we can learn to appreciate them more.