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Information About Squirrels

Although the squirrel is a member of the rodent family, they are active throughout the daylight hours, unlike others such as mice and rats, which only really scavenge after dark. Amongst the many unexpected snippets of information about squirrels is the amount of different species. There are three common families: the ground, flying and tree squirrels. In the northern hemisphere there are as many as ten variations, with the most common being the Grey, Red, Pine and Fox squirrels.
An adult will usually live alone in nests commonly known as dreys, but when temperatures drop to extremes they will share with others to help preserve each others body heat. The nests are built in territories, marked by urinating on the surrounding trees to warn off trespassers. They are made from leaves and twigs, but the interior is a real creature comfort, with feathers, fur or such like, giving it a softer and warmer feel. In relation to this, one of the more enlightening pieces of squirrel info, shows a level of intelligence in the animal, as they cleverly build the drey high enough to be safe from ground based predators, but not too high to be in danger from strong winds.

The Grey squirrel actually exists in many different colours, including brown and pure white, whilst the Red squirrel, which can be found in coniferous forests, can strangely have a completely black coat. The animals diet varies within each species, but commonly it will consist of things like fruit, nuts, seeds, dried corn, roots and mushrooms, although they also feed on scraps of bread, meat, bugs, birds eggs, even left over pizza. An adult will need to consume around a pound of food during an average week to maintain an active life.

The squirrel's tail is extremely important, it acts as many things, in particular as a balance when they are darting across the trees. It also becomes a type of sun shade, or an umbrella, plus it keeps them warm, doubling as a blanket. It is also their chief form of communication, with exaggerated flicking warning off rivals. Surprisingly, squirrels do fall and the tail becomes a parachute to slow their descent and cushion their landing.

Most squirrel litters are born between the months of February and April, with the average usually comprising of 4 or 5 babies, although if the food supply is sufficient, there can be a second litter in late summer, around July or August. The males are driven away following mating, so it is just the mother who raises the young, who are helpless and blind for the first couple of months. However, after around 12 to 14 weeks they too are driven away to fend for themselves.

A significant piece of info about squirrels is their lifespan, which on average is around 4 to 5 years. Many though do die before their 1st birthday, not because of lack of food, but due to poor eyesight and lack of road sense, resulting in them being run over.