Squirrels are one of the most common (and adorable) rodent species in the United States. But, how much do you really know about these fluffy-tailed tree crawlers? Probably not as much as you think. Keep reading as Phillip Elden answers a few questions.
Q: What is a squirrel?
Phillip Elden: A squirrel is really just a climbing rodent. They are closely related to groundhogs, prairie dogs, and chipmunks. On average, squirrels grow to about 20-inches long and weigh about a pound, with some larger species going up to 1.5 pounds.
Q: Where do squirrels live?
Phillip Elden: Squirrels are one of the most widely-spread animals in the world. You can find them in every continent, with Antarctica being the only exception. They are extremely adaptable and can tolerate heat, cold, drought, and flood conditions quite well.
Q: What do squirrels eat?
Phillip Elden: Squirrels have a broad diet, and, contrary to popular belief, do not live solely on acorns. Squirrels will scavenge for anything to keep their bellies full, and, during the summer, enjoy berries, fruits, and wild mushrooms. Squirrels do, however, famously pack away what we would consider non-perishable foods, which includes tree nuts, sunflower seeds, and, of course, acorns.
Q: Are squirrels daytime animals or are they nocturnal?
Phillip Elden: Squirrels are highly active during the day, and you will see them out mostly during the spring, summer, and fall. They live in trees, and stay safe and sound throughout most of the night in their dens, which are made of bark, leaves, and other nesting materials. Squirrels communicate during the day by screaming, barking, and purring.
According to Phillip Elden, squirrels are typically not a bother to humans. However, they can chew through exposed electrical wires and may damage wood siding if they do not have a natural habitat available.