Squirrels, well-known rodents with bushy tails, and an affinity for nuts can be found all over the world. They are a part of the larger Sciuridae family, which also includes other smaller rodents such as chipmunks and prairie dogs.
There is a large number of squirrel species currently on the planet, more than 200, and we usually divide them into three groups: tree squirrels, ground squirrels, and flying squirrels. There is a large number of subgroups as well, but those are too numerous to name them all. A few notable ones are the Albino squirrel, the Spotted squirrel, and the Mountain Tree squirrel.
Where Do Squirrels Live?
As we mentioned in the introduction, squirrels can be found almost all over the world. Squirrels are living on every continent except Australia and Antarctica. Their exact habitat largely depends on the type of squirrel we are talking about. Tree squirrels can be found in more wooded areas, hanging around treetops. That does make sense, given that we call them "tree squirrels."
Ground squirrels also unsurprisingly live up to their names and can be found underground. They dig tunnels that form a complex system that allows them to move around freely. They also sometimes hibernate underground during the winter.
Flying squirrels make their homes in treetops, finding various holes or nests that are built in the branches or the higher parts of the tree trunk. They can freely travel between trees by gliding through the air. They do so by spreading the muscle membranes between their legs and body. Although it seems as if they can fly, they are only able to glide. They are capable of gliding through distances of up to 160 feet.
What Do Squirrels Eat?
Squirrels are believed to eat only nuts, which is not true. They are omnivores, meaning they can eat plants and meat as well. The average squirrel eats somewhere around one pound of food every week. They mostly eat seeds, nuts, fruits, and fungi, but are known to enjoy the occasional egg, smaller insect and young snake, among other stuff.
They are also known to bury their food to prepare for the winter. This means that they always have a supply of food waiting for them if living conditions become too hard and they can't find food anywhere.
How Big Can Squirrels Get?
Squirrels vary in size considerably. African pygmy squirrels are known to be the smallest, with their size ranging from 2.8 to 5 inches, and their weight being just 0.35 ounces. The world's largest squirrels are the Indian giant squirrels. They can grow up to 36 inches in length, and weigh up to 4 pounds. Kind of impressive size for a squirrel, don't you think?
However, there is a catch, their length includes their tail, so in the end, their bodies are 18 inches long at most. The most common species of squirrel found in America is the grey squirrel, and they are considered to be medium-sized.
Groups of squirrels are called scurries or drays, Squirrels are known to be extremely territorial, and will defend their habitat to the death. Mother squirrely are protective of their babies to an even more extreme extent. They will viciously protect them from anything that they consider a threat. Certain squirrel species are crepuscular, which means that they are active only at dusk or dawn.
What do squirrels eat?
They are omnivores, meaning they can eat plants and meat as well. They mostly eat seeds, nuts, fruits, and fungi, but are known to enjoy the occasional egg, smaller insect and young snake, among other stuff.
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