Squirrel: Habits, Diet and Other Facts

Squirrel

Squirrels belong to a large family of small and medium-sized rodent mammals known as Sciuridae. In Brazil, they are also known as serelepe, caxinguelê, caxinxe, quatimirim, quatipuru, agutipuru or acutipuru. In Galicia and in some parts of Portugal, it is also known as skiing. Squirrels are found all over the world, mostly in temperate or tropical climate zones, but also in some cold climate zones. Like all rodents, it has very strong prey, with which it easily gnaws seeds, especially acorns.

Squirrel


Behavior

Animal squirrel

Seeds are the main food sources, but they also consume insects and fruits. When they collect food, they bury some seeds they find, some of which germinate, such as pine nuts and coconuts, ending up planting trees such as araucaria and jeriv√°.

They build nests with leaves and branches to shelter their young from the rain and wind, on very high branches, in trees like the cajarana. During pregnancy, parents prepare the nest to receive offspring ranging from 3 to 10 per litter. When adult, the largest species in the family can measure from 53 to 73 cm in length (with the tail).


Characteristics

Squirrel

Its gestation ranges from 30 to 32 days and its litter has three to five offspring. Their size varies a lot, from the small squirrels Myosciurus pumilio, which are 7 to 10 cm long, to the large marmots of the species Marmota marmota, which are 53 to 73 cm long.


Types

Arboreal

Tree squirrels correspond to our ideal image of what a squirrel is. They are diurnal animals, with well-honed senses and an anatomy well adapted to life in treetops, where they feel safer from terrestrial predators. Although arboreal squirrels spend 90% of their lives in the heights, they can sometimes be found on the forest floor, looking for food they have previously stored, but always alert to the slightest noise or movement, as this prevention is often vital to them. . As arboreal species, the following can be mentioned: the Eurasian red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris), the American gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis), the Peruvian squirrel (Sciurus igniventris), the tricolor squirrel (Callosciurus prevostii), among many others being the largest family of squirrels.

Flyers

Flying squirrels are also arboreal squirrels, however they are a family with many particularities. This family of squirrels is nocturnal, having large, well-developed eyes. Flying squirrels also have a very characteristic anatomy, having a skin membrane that runs over their body, joining the front and back legs, which allows them to glide from one tree to another, unlike what some people think they actually do. they fly, but they direct the flight with the help of the flat tail that acts as a rudder.

Also unlike arboreal squirrels, flying squirrels very rarely descend to the ground, as their membrane does not allow them to move well and quickly, leaving them very vulnerable to predators. Flying species are Eurasian flying squirrel (Pteromys), southern flying squirrel (Glaucomys volans), northern flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus), giant red flying squirrel (petaurist petaurist), etc. .


Terrestrial

Land squirrels are diurnal and tunnel under the ground, where they build their nests, being physically adapted for this. They are animals with legs developed for digging, small ears that allow greater freedom of movement in the tunnels and, as they do not need to balance, the tail is shorter. The vast majority of land squirrel species live in colonies and each member of the group has a role to play, making this type of squirrel the smartest of all types of squirrel. As terrestrial species, the following can be mentioned: the prairie dog (Cynomys), the terrestrial squirrel-of-richardson (Spermophilus richardsonii), the Siberian squirrel (Tamias sibiricus), the Marmot (Marmota) etc.


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