While many people are familiar of these bushy-tailed animals, there are some interesting facts about squirrels that you may not be aware of. Squirrels are rodents that belong to the family Sciuridae. Other animals in this family are chipmunks, prairie dogs and woodchucks. Here are few more squirrel facts.
Squirrels around the world
There are more than 200 species of squirrels found throughout North America, Asia, Europe and Africa. The only part of the world where you won’t find squirrels is Australia. These mammals vary in size, color and habitat.
A squirrely appearance
The most common type of squirrel in America is the grey squirrel. They are great climbers, but come to the ground in search of their favorite foods such as nuts, insects and berries. They have also been known to eat eggs, baby birds and tree bark. As its name would imply, this type of squirrel has a grey body with a white undercoat and a grey, bushy tail. Another common species of squirrel is the fox squirrel. This squirrel has an orange or rust-colored body with an orange-colored underbelly. Its tail is also orange, but has fringes of black hair throughout. Fox squirrels have the same basic food preferences as the grey squirrel and are also good climbers.
One myth about squirrels is that they can fly. There are about 50 species of squirrels that can “fly.” Instead of flying, however, they are actually gliding through the air. Flying squirrels, as they’re called, have a fury membrane that stretches from their wrists to their ankles that acts like a parachute. The average “flight” is about 30 to 50 feet, although the longest recorded flight was a whopping 300 feet.
Other fun squirrel facts
- Squirrels have four front teeth that never stop growing. They keep them sharp by gnawing on nuts and tree bark.
- They build nests called drey. These nests may consist of tree branches, twigs, leaves, moss and feathers. Nests are usually located in notches or holes in trees. Some species nest in burrows underground.
- Squirrels can run up to 20 miles per hour and jump up to 20 feet in length.
- They are highly intelligent creatures. They fake food burying in order to keep other squirrels, birds and predators from finding their actual food stash.
- Squirrels communicate by using a variety of vocal calls and by scent marking. They twitch their tails to signal others that a potential danger is nearby.
- Female squirrels give birth to an average of two to eight offspring that are born blind. The babies are called kittens and will feed off the milk of the mother for about three months.
- The smallest squirrel known is the African pigmy squirrel that is only 5 inches long from nose to tail. The largest type of squirrel is the Indian squirrel that grows to as much as 3 feet long.
- The Native American symbol for preparation, trust and thriftiness, is the squirrel.
It’s fun to watch these cute, fury animals playing around in the trees or in your backyard, but when they begin to invade your home, there’s one fact about squirrels you need to know – Terminix® wildlife control specialists have the expertise to help solve this problem for you. Give them a call when squirrels start driving you nuts.