Interesting Facts About Squirrels
- Legend has it that the name Squirrel came from ancient Greece where Aristotle used the word skiouros, translating into "he who lives in the shadow of his tail".
- The three most common Squirrels in North America are the Grey, Fox, and Red Squirrels. Fox Squirrel being the largest and the Red Squirrel being the smallest.
- Grey and Black Squirrels are the same. The color difference is based on age with the black being younger and the grey more mature.
- Fox and Grey Squirrels feed on tree bark, nuts, seeds, fruit, fungi, insects, frogs, small rodents including other squirrels, small birds, their eggs and young. They have even been known to eat animal carcasses if no other food is available. They will also gnaw on bones, antlers, and turtle shells – likely as a source of minerals sparse in their normal diet.
- Red Squirrels are also known as Pine Squirrels and Chickarees. Their diet is mostly the seeds of conifer cones.
- Squirrels mating season begins in late winter when they can be seen pursuing females through the tree tops and chasing off any other males in their vicinity. This is when they are the most active throughout the year.
- An average litter can contain four baby squirrels and are born in early spring. Depending on available food, a second litter can be born mid-summer.
- Female Squirrels will breed with the strongest males, but are unlikely to breed with the same squirrel again.
- In winter months, Squirrels may avoid going out in the evening. On colder days they may not venture out at all.
- In the cold of winter Squirrels will sometimes share their nests to stay warm. When the weather gets warmer they return to their own nests again.
- Don't let the number of Squirrel nests lead you to think there are numerous Squirrels in one area. When a Squirrel nest becomes infested with Fleas or other parasites, they will abandon it and build a new one.
- Squirrels mark the trees in their territory with sweat glands located in the feet between their foot pads and between their toes. They also mark the nuts before they bury them by licking them and rubbing them against their faces.
- When alarmed, a Squirrel's first instinct is to stand still. Then, if on the ground it will run to and climb a tree. If in a tree it will circle the trunk with its body pressed tightly against it.
*Please note that in some areas the Red Squirrel is considered a fur bearing animal and cannot be hunted. Please check your local guidelines.