- There are over 265 species of squirrel worldwide. The smallest is the African pygmy squirrel which is tiny at around 10 cm long, whereas the largest, the Indian giant squirrel is a massive three feet long.
- When a squirrel is scared and feels that it is in danger, it will at first remain motionless. If it is on the ground, it will run to a nearby tree and climb to safety, and if it is already in a tree it will circle the trunk and press up against the bark tightly with its body.
- Squirrels are very trusting animals, and are of the very few wild animal species which will eat out of a person’s hand.
- In colder regions such as the UK, squirrels plan ahead in order to survive the challenging winter months. They store nuts and seeds at various locations and return to them throughout the winter to maintain their energy levels when food is scarce.
- Squirrels tend to run in erratic paths. This is intended to deceive potential predators as to its chosen direction so that it may escape.
What do squirrels eat?
On average, squirrels eat about one pound of food per week. Many people think that squirrels only eat nuts, but this isn’t true. Squirrels are omnivores, which means they like to eat plants and meat. Squirrels mainly eat fungi, seeds, nuts and fruits, but they will also munch on eggs, small insects, caterpillars, small animals and even young snakes.
To prepare for cold months, squirrels will bury their food. In the winter months they have a store of food they can eat when supplies are scarce.
How does it protect itself?
Squirrels who live in very hot climates get away from the heat for a while in hibernationlike periods in the warm summer months known as estivation. Estivation can last for seven months. Burrows hidden away from the hot sunlight and close to the ground, providing for a cooler climate, are used for estivating.
Squirrel Sleeping Habits
Squirrels can be busy little fellas, living out their lives running around gathering and hoarding food, mating and raising young. With all that scrambling, sleep is an integral part of squirrel’s lives. Squirrels’ sleep habits differ among species, generally according to whether they’re ground squirrels or tree squirrels. This determines where they spend most of their lives as well as where they retreat to for sleep.