Squirrels

Four baby squirrels on a birch log sharing some sunflower seeds.jpgSquirrels are found all over the world, except in Antarctica, and common in many wooded areas. Squirrels belong to the order Rodentia, there are 365 species. The smallest is the African pygmy squirrel which is tiny at around 10 cm long, whereas the largest, the Indian giant squirrel is a massive three feet long. Squirrels belong to the Sciuridae family, which includes tree and ground squirrels, flying squirrels, chipmunks, prairie dogs and marmots.

Squirrels are extremely intelligent creatures. They are known to put on elaborate bogus food burying displays to deceive onlookers. The fake burials are to trick potential thieves, such as other squirrels or birds, into thinking that they have stored their food stock there. Any observers planning on taking the stash will then focus on the bogus burial site, allowing the squirrel to bury the real stash elsewhere safely. Squirrels mainly eat seeds, nuts, fungi and fruits. Some squirrels will also eat small insects and even young snakes.

Click on any image below for a slideshow of Squirrel pictures

Squirrels can communicate with each other through various sounds. Some types of ground squirrel warn each other of predators by a whistling sound.They also use their tails as a signalling device, twitching it when uneasy to alert other squirrels of potential danger.Squirrels eyes are positioned in such a way that they can see some things behind them.

Squirrels can jump a distance of up to 20 feet. They have long, muscular hind legs and short front legs that work together to aid in leaping. A squirrel has padded feet that helps it jump from high distances, even as much as 20 feet (6 meters) and can run as fast as 20 mph Squirrels tend to run in erratic paths. This is intended to deceive potential predators. Squirrels can fall up to 100 feet without hurting themselves. They’ll use their tail both for balance and as a parachute.

Generally all squirrels live in trees, basically in the holes of trunks or even in the treetop in abandon crow’s nests. Squirrels will usually start looking for a nest when they start to mate, which is when they are about a year old. Baby squirrels are called kittens and kittens are born only twice a year. Once in the spring time and once at the end of the summer. The squirrel is the Native American symbol for preparation, trust and thriftiness. Gray squirrels are called “living fossils” because they haven’t changed much in 37 million years. The word “squirrel” means “shadow tail” in Greek.