The Squirrel is a small, brown rodent native to North America and Eurasia. There are over 20 species of squirrel; some have bushy tails while others have scaly or furry coats. They love nuts, seeds and fruits from trees as well as climbing trees for food high on the trunk or branches. In fact one study found that they can be seen carrying up to 10kgs in their cheeks!

Squirrels are a type of animal that is widely known for being cute and fuzzy. They are also very intelligent animals, which makes them even more interesting to learn about. In this article, I will be discussing the identification and interesting facts in 2022. Read more in detail here: squirrel identification guide.

Squirrels are ordinary small backyard creatures to whom most of us pay little attention. Though squirrels may seem dull at first look, they really come in a wide range of colors, sizes, and characteristics that are fascinating to contemplate. Squirrels, like other creatures, vary greatly in what they eat, how they appear, and even how and where they live.

We’ll look at the most common varieties of squirrels (as well as a few unusual squirrels) in this post, explain how to recognize them, and give you some fascinating information!

Squirrels come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Only approximately 5 species of squirrels dwell in the United States, despite the fact that there are over 200 species of squirrels that live in the world’s woods, deserts, and suburbs. Ground squirrels, Flying Squirrels, Fox Squirrels, Antelope Squirrels, Red Squirrels, and Gray Squirrels are the six varieties of squirrels that may be found in the United States.

We’ll look at each of these sorts of squirrels in greater detail in the next sections, including Identification and other traits.

1. Squirrels on the Ground

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The phrase “ground squirrel” refers to a group of rodents that live in holes in the ground rather than holes or nests in trees. Chipmunks, marmots, California ground squirrels, and prairie dogs are among them. Ground squirrels are mostly found in hilly or arid parts of the United States, however certain ground squirrels, such as chipmunks, may be found in lush woods all across the continent.

Identification

Ground squirrels are distinguished by their underground burrows. You’ll see them poking their heads out of holes, and with certain ground squirrels, such as prairie dogs, you’ll notice whole families of ground squirrels congregated in one location, all of which are strewn with holes. Ground squirrels are further distinguished by their flat ears that are near to the skull, their light fur coloration that allows them to blend in with the desert environment or forest floor, and their stumpier bodies when compared to other slimmer squirrel species.

Diet

Ground squirrels’ diets vary significantly depending on food availability and seasonal variations, although they are mostly herbivorous. Ground squirrels consume leafy plants, green grass, wild nuts, and wild fruits in the wild. They will augment their diet with insects such as grasshoppers and flying bugs if food is limited, such as in a desert setting.

Burrowing ground squirrels in developed regions may wreak havoc on vegetable and fruit plants. Their burrows may harm gardens, and a family of ground squirrels can quickly demolish a garden.


2. Squirrels in the Air

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Flying squirrels are a kind of squirrel that lives in tree nests and holes and has skin flaps linking the front and rear legs, enabling them to glide from tree to tree. Sugar Gliders, Northern and Southern Flying Squirrels, and Black Flying Squirrels are among the 50 species of flying squirrels.

The majority of flying squirrels may be found in South America and other parts of the globe. The Northern and Southern Flying Squirrels, which range from Maine’s woodlands to South Texas, are the most common Flying Squirrels in the United States.

Identification

The fleshy flaps of skin connecting the front and hind legs on each side of the body are the most distinguishing characteristic of flying squirrels. A rodent soaring from tree to tree is another telltale indicator of a flying squirrel; conventional tree squirrels may leap from branch to branch, but they can’t glide like a flying squirrel. Because flying squirrels are mostly nocturnal, they have notably constricted cheeks with huge eyes.

Diet

In the wild, flying squirrels eat fungus, particularly truffles, as part of their diet. Wild fruits, leafy greens, and tree products such as nuts and seeds are also eaten by them. Flying squirrels will eat vegetable gardens, fruit trees, and flower beds if they nest near cultivated areas. Flying squirrels eat insects such as winged bugs and bugs found on the forest floor when green foods and other resources are scarce.


3. Squirrels of the Fox

Fox Squirrel (Mammals of the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area) · iNaturalist

The fox squirrel is one of the biggest and most frequent squirrel species found in North America. These squirrels are most often found in Eastern and Central North America, but they have also spread to parts of the West. These squirrels may also be found in Canada and Mexico.

Identification

The fox squirrel is distinguished by its size and coloring. These big squirrels may grow to be over 2 feet in length. The sheer size of these squirrels is enough to recognize them, but their colour is also important. The term comes from the fact that fox squirrels are usually red. They may, however, come in two-tone colors. Gray with copper or red undersides (as shown in the picture above) and black with tan or gold undersides are examples of these colors.

Diet

A fox squirrel will eat acorns, mushrooms, insects, nuts, budding plants, and flower bulbs, among other things. Acorns are often stored in tree holes or buried underground by these squirrels for use throughout the winter. When food is short or they just need a protein boost, Fox Squirrels may sometimes climb into bird nests and consume an egg or two.


Antelope Squirrels (number 4)

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Although technically a Ground Squirrel, Antelope Squirrels are classified as a separate species owing to their distinct characteristics and habitat. The desert regions of the United States, such as Nevada, New Mexico, and other parts of the South-Western United States, are home to these squirrels. In addition to the United States, they may be found in Mexico.

Identification

The Antelope Squirrel’s colors and white stripe patterns on the back and tail are quite similar to those of the Chipmunk, leading to confusion among most people. Looking at the ears of an Antelope Squirrel and a Chipmunk is one of the greatest ways to tell them different. Antelope Squirrels have little ears that are flattened to the head, but Chipmunks have erect portions that protrude out slightly from the head.

Chipmunks like to live in wooded environments and are less abundant in the United States’ arid regions. You’ll either see a chipmunk or an Antelope Squirrel in the location where you observe this sort of squirrel. Finally, Antelope Squirrels’ tails are less bushy than those of chipmunks, which have bushier tails.

Diet

Antelope Squirrels, like other squirrels, are omnivore and eat mostly plants. Leafy leaves, seeds, wild fruits, insects, and even little lizards and rodents smaller than themselves will be eaten.


5. Squirrels (Red)

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The Red Squirrel, one of the biggest squirrel species, has a bright red coat with a white or cream bottom and may be found all throughout the United States (excluding areas of the East Coast). These are usually tree squirrels, and they may be observed climbing tree trunks, leaping from branch to branch, and nesting on tree branches, tree cavities, or holes. They may sometimes build nests in earth burrows.

Identification

Red squirrels are easy to spot, not just because of their size but also because of their hue. Red squirrels have a vivid orange-red coat and may grow to be 1 to 2 feet long from nose to tail. Unlike many other squirrel species, their ears have sharp, long tufts of hair extending from the tips, giving them an exaggerated appearance. Their scarlet tails are likewise incredibly fluffy and broad.

Diet

Wild fruits, berries, nuts, and seeds make up a large part of a Red Squirrel’s diet. Young, green seeds, particularly from trees that produce cones, are their favorite seeds (such as Pine Trees). A fun fact about Red Squirrels is that they’ve been known to drink the delicious sap from trees, particularly in the Northern United States and Canada.


Gray Squirrels, No. 6

Western Gray Squirrel (Animal Tracks and Signs by Beartracker Wildlife Tracking) · iNaturalist

The Gray or Grey Squirrel is native to North America, and may be found all throughout the United States (especially in the northernmost areas) and Canada. The Gray Squirrel, like many other North American squirrel species, has been imported to countries all over the globe, including the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Italy.

Identification

Gray Squirrels are easily distinguished by their smoky gray coat and white underbelly. From the top of the head to the base of the tail, these squirrels may be anywhere between 9 inches and 1 foot long. The enormous and broad tails of these squirrels make them difficult to overlook when they stroll along a powerline or tree trunk. The Gray Squirrel’s ears are sleek and upright, unlike the closely related Red Squirrel’s.

Diet

Gray Squirrels eat largely nuts and seeds, such as those from Oak and Walnut Trees, as well as hickory nuts from Hickory Trees. Wild fruits and berries, as well as budded flowers and flower bulbs, will be consumed. Small frogs, bird eggs, and flying insects are sometimes eaten by these squirrels. Gray Squirrels are also popular backyard visitors, and they will eat wheat and maize if it is available.


Facts About Nutty Squirrels

We’ll provide you some amusing squirrel facts in this area that will make you like these fluffy-tailed critters even more!

1. Squirrels Care for Trees Without Realizing It!

When a squirrel buries his or her seeds or acorns, he or she burys them in many locations and sometimes forgets where they are! More tree seedlings arise from forgetful squirrels, which is wonderful not only for them but also for us and the environment!

2. Their sizes are (very) diverse!

The African Pygmy Squirrel is the world’s tiniest squirrel species, weighing 0.77 ounces and measuring little over 3 inches in total length.

The Giant Black Squirrel, on the other hand, is one of the biggest squirrel species in the planet. These squirrels are over 4 pounds (which is a lot for a squirrel) and have a body length of 1 to 1.5 feet, plus another foot or two with the tail!… That’s a gigantic rodent.

3. The Front Teeth of a Squirrel Never Stop Growing!

A squirrel’s front teeth, like those of hamsters, Guinea Pigs, rats, mice, and other rodents, never stop growing and may grow up to 6 inches every year. Their continual gnawing and biting on hard nuts, seeds, and wood maintains their teeth healthy. Though a squirrel’s teeth develop continually, they are regularly filed down to make them tiny enough to fit in the squirrel’s mouth.

4. Some squirrels like to be alone, while others despise it!

Once they reach maturity, many squirrel species, particularly tree squirrels, will live, hunt, burrow or nest, and hibernate on their own. Tree squirrels, in particular, spend solitary lives, save during mating season, when the mother squirrels are tasked with rearing their offspring.

Other species, notably Ground Squirrels, will, on the other hand, inhabit whole fields and live together until they reach maturity. These squirrels will raise their young together, monitor for predators and notify each other, and dine together.

5. Squirrels in the Trees are Opportunistic Eaters!

The fact that tree squirrels will consume nearly everything they can get their grimy little mitts on is one of the things that makes them so fun to watch. Bird feeders, crumbs on the grass, and even that sandwich you left on the porch while you stepped inside to grab a drink are all examples. Many homeowners may purchase squirrel feeders in an effort to keep these obnoxious gluttons from chasing away birds or stealing picnics.

6. Squirrels Hibernate in Only a Few Species

While all squirrel species will hibernate during hard winters, most squirrels will spend the autumn months gathering as many acorns, seeds, and nuts as they can to keep them alive until the next spring. Hibernating squirrels, such as the Arctic Ground Squirrel, are usually found in the Ground Squirrel Category.

Last Thoughts

As you can see, there are hundreds of various varieties of squirrels found all over the globe, but only around 5 of them may be found in the United States. Squirrels come in a variety of sizes, colors, traits, and habitats, and are fascinating animals upon closer investigation! We hope you found our squirrel kinds information useful!

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