Squirrels have 5 toes and 4 fingers. They may be brown, red, grey or black in color. Their bodies’ measure between 18 and 22 centimeters long and their tails are about 14 to 19 centimeters in length. They weigh about 275 to 300 grams, same as a packet of biscuits or 4 Mars Bars. The scientific name for squirrels is Sciurus Vulgaris.
Squirrels feed on buds, seeds, shoots, flowers, berries, nuts and fruits from numerous shrubs and trees. They also feed on insects and fungi as well as bird’s eggs occasionally. During autumn, squirrels store nuts below the ground in a habit called scatter hoarding. This habit helps in dispersing tree seeds. Squirrels can become left or right handed after consuming pine cone.
3.Squirrels Molt Coats
Squirrels molt their coats at least two times a year. The first molting happens after winter and the next molting happens during the late summer just before the weather changes to become cold again. The turf in squirrel’s ears molt once every year during late autumn.
Squirrels inhabit high trees and strip the bark of trees occasionally. They develop their nests using leaves, twigs and moss. Their nests are called drey. They can make their drey in holes in trees, or against branches and trunks. Most squirrel species hibernate during winter and begin storing food within their dens in readiness for winter in autumn.
Squirrels have a gestation period of 36 to 42 days and their young ones are called kittens. At birth, kittens have no hair, no teeth and their eyes are closed. In just about 7 weeks, their appearance is very much like their parents only that they are smaller. They leave the drey after 7 weeks. Squirrels can litter 3-4 kittens twice a year.
There are numerous squirrel species natively found in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas. Though some squirrel species such as prairie dogs and marmots grow to attain the size of a tiny beaver, these rodents generally attain a 10 to 20 centimeter length. In the United Kingdom, the red squirrel is becoming extinct at a rapid rate due to the increasing number of eastern grey squirrels. The grey squirrel is classified as vermin and releasing them into the wild is illegal because they destroy the red native squirrel’s habitats.
About 50 species of all squirrel species are flying squirrels that are found on tree tops across the world. These squirrels do not fly parse by they jump more and glide from one point to another. They have shorter tails that help them in maintaining balance.
There are around 5 ground squirrel species in America other than the African ground squirrels. The African squirrel looks more like the small meerkat. Other ground squirrel species are prairie dogs and marmots that grow to attain a length of up to 60 centimeters. Their lifespan extends to over 20 years when domesticated.
9.Unsociable, Noisy Animals
Squirrels, particularly the red squirrel species are unsociable, aggressive and territorial. They do not accommodate other squirrel species or even their own within their territories. They are also noisy animals that have been nicknamed chatter boxes
Squirrels are capable of performing unique activities such as hanging upside down and swimming. They are capable of telling the difference between the white oak acorns and the red oak acorns. When hoarding food for winter, they tend to separate these and store them accordingly. They have been seen digging read oak up, removing the embryos then re-burying what they don’t need for future use.