Amazing Squirrel Facts PartI

Amazing Squirrel Facts PartI

Source"Sciuridae" by Chicoutimi (montage)KarakalAndiWNational Park Serviceen:User:Markus KrötzschThe Lilac Breasted RollerNico Conradie from Centurion, South AfricaHans HillewaertSylvouilleNational Park Service - Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sciuridae.jpg#/media/File:Sciuridae.jpg


1. Squirrel Nutkin is a very famous red squirrel, from the children’s book of the same name, written and illustrated by Beatrix Potter.

2. Nutkin is a bold, cheeky little squirrel. He and his relatives sail to Owl Island, and ask the resident owl - Old Brown - if they can collect nuts there.

3. Nutkin’s family is very polite to Old Brown… but Nutkin himself always teases him and gets on his nerves. One day, the owl finally snaps, and poor Nutkin has to run for his life!

4. As well as being smaller than grey squirrels - and a different colour - reds have big tufts of fur at the tips of their ears. Grey squirrels don’t have these tufts.

5. Squirrels are diurnal, which means they’re active during the day. You’re most likely to see them out and about searching for food in the early morning, or just before sunset.

6. Squirrels are omnivores, eating both animal and vegetable organisms. Foods they eat in the wild include acorns, hazelnuts, fungi, bulbs, tree buds, and even birds’ eggs.

7. A squirrel builds a nest, called a drey. This is where it will rest, sleep, hide from danger and keep warm. The drey is usually built high up in the branches of a tree, or sometimes inside a hollow area of the tree itself. It’s usually about the size of a watermelon, and is made from natural materials the squirrel picks up, including twigs, leaves and feathers.

8. Unlike dormice and bats, squirrels don’t hibernate (go into a long sleep) during the winter. Instead, they keep warm in their dreys and come out every now and then to hunt for the nuts they buried in the ground during the autumn.

9. When a squirrel feels threatened, it holds its body in a particular way to scare off the potential predator. It sits bolt upright, flicks its bushy tail, and makes loud spitting noises!

10. Grey squirrels actually change colour during the year. During the winter their fur is a pale, silvery grey; but during the summer grey squirrels tend to turn a light, yellowy brown.

11, A squirrel’s hind feet are double-jointed, which means it can hold on easily whilst climbing down a tree trunk head-first. 

12. Red squirrels are protected in the UK: It’s illegal to catch or hurt them. However, grey squirrels aren’t protected. Some park keepers and farmers think they’re a pest, because they sometimes damage trees by pulling off the bark. And some conservationists see them as a threat to the smaller reds.

13. A few grey squirrels look very unusual. Differences in their genes mean that grey albino squirrels are actually white, with pink eyes! And there are also some, quite rare ‘black’ squirrels. These are actually grey squirrels too, but they have unusually high levels of the black colouring melanin in their fur.

14. Squirrels are rodents like mice, beaver, and groundhogs.  While they mostly eat fruits, seeds, and nuts, they will occasionally eat meat and insects.

15. The genus name Callosciurus means “beautiful squirrel.” The Prevost’s squirrel is one of the most colorful of all squirrels.  It is also known as the “Ornamental, Beautiful, or Tricolored Squirrel.”

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