Here we have a spot detecated to explaining the different kinds of squirrels because in order to know about us, you must know about our habits. But first we Sciuridae poloticians at the Big Oak Tree have given you a little bit of information just to look over before going into great detail about US (once again, not the magazine).
The Fox Squirrel (Sciurus niger) is the largest species of tree squirrel native to North America. They are also sometimes referred to as the Stump-eared Squirrel, Raccoon Squirrel, Red Squirrel, or Monkey-faced Squirrel. They are sometimes mistaken for Eastern Gray Squirrels by casual observers in those areas where both species co-exist, despite the differences in size and coloration.
The Fox Squirrel's natural range extends throughout the eastern United States, excluding New England, north into the southern prairie provinces of Canada, and west to the Dakotas, Colorado, and Texas.
The squirrel's total body length measures 45 to 70 cm (17.71" - 27.55"), tail length is 20 to 33 cm(7.87" - 13") , and they range in weight from 500 to 1000 grams (1.1 lbs - 2.2 lbs.). There is no sexual dimorphism in size or appearance. Individuals tend to be smaller in the west.
Fox Squirrels depend primarily on tree seeds for food, but they are generalist eaters and will also consume buds and fruits, cultivated grain, insects, birds' eggs, lizards and small snakes.There are two breeding seasons, one peaking in December and the other in June. The young are blind, without fur and helpless at birth. They become independent at about three months and maturity is reached after one year. In captivity, they have been known to live 18 years, but in the wild most fox squirrels die before they become adults.
The Eastern Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis), or the Grey Squirrel, depending on region, is a tree squirrel native to the eastern and midwestern United States and to the southerly portions of the eastern provinces of Canada. The native range of the Eastern Gray Squirrel overlaps with that of the fox squirrel (Sciurus niger), with which it is sometimes confused, although the core of the fox squirrel's range is slightly more to the west.
A prolific and adaptable species, the Eastern Gray Squirrel has been introduced to, and thrives, in several regions of the western United States. It has also been introduced to Britain, where it has spread across the country and has largely displaced the native Red Squirrel, Sciurus vulgaris. In Ireland, the red squirrel has been displaced in several eastern counties, though it still remains common in the south and west of the country. There are concerns that such displacement might happen in Italy and that Grey squirrels might spread from Italy to other parts of Mainland Europe.
As the name suggests, the Eastern Gray Squirrel has predominantly gray fur but it can have a reddish color. It has a white underside and a large bushy tail. Particularly in urban situations where the risk of predation is reduced, both white- and black-colored individuals are quite often found.
Like many members of the family Sciuridae, the Eastern Gray Squirrel is a scatter-hoarder; it hoards food in numerous small caches for later recovery.Eastern Gray Squirrels breed twice a year, December to February and May to June, though this is slightly delayed in more northern latitudes.
In some places, this species has also been known as the Silver-gray Squirrel, the California Gray Squirrel, the Oregon Gray Squirrel, the Columbian Gray Squirrel and the Banner-tail. There are three geographical subspecies: Sciurus griseus griseus (central Washington to the western Sierra Nevada in central California); S. g. nigripes (from south of San Francisco Bay to San Luis Obispo County, California; and S. g. anthonyi, which ranges from San Luis Obispo to south-central California).
Compared with the Eastern Gray Squirrel S. carolinensis or the Eastern Fox Squirrel (which have been introduced into its range), these squirrels are shy, and will generally run up a tree and give a hoarse barking call when disturbed.Western Gray Squirrels are forest dwellers, and can be found at elevations up to at 2,000 m or more. Time on the ground is spent foraging, but they prefer to travel distances from tree to tree.
Western Gray Squirrels mate over an extended period ranging from December through June. Young are born after approximate 44 day gestation period. Juveniles emerge from nests between March and mid-August. Litter sizes range from one to five kits which remain in the nest for a longer period that other squirrels.
The red squirrel or Eurasian red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) is a species of tree squirrel (genus Sciurus). A tree-dwelling omnivorous rodent, the red squirrel is common throughout Eurasia.In Great Britain and Ireland, numbers have decreased drastically in recent years, in part because of the introduction of the eastern grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) from North America.
The red squirrel has a typical head-and-body length of 19 to 23 cm (7.5 to 9 in), a tail length of 15 to 20 cm (5.9 to 7.9 in) and a mass of 250 to 340 g (8.8 to 12 oz). It is not sexually dimorphic, as males and females are the same size. The red squirrel is somewhat smaller than the eastern grey squirrel which has a head-and-body length of 25 to 30 cm (9.5 to 12 in) and weighs between 400 and 800 g (14 oz to 1.8 lb). It is thought that the long tail helps the squirrel to balance and steer when jumping from tree to tree and running along branches and may keep the animal warm during sleep. The Red Squirrel would make a nest for it to sleep, the nest is about a football size.
The coat of the red squirrel varies in colour with time of year and location. There are several different coat colour morphs ranging from black to red. Red coats are most common in Great Britain; in other parts of Europe and Asia different coat colours co-exist within populations, much like hair colour in some human populations.
Mating can occur in late winter during February and March and in summer between June and July. Up to two litters a year per female are possible. Each litter usually contains three or four young although as many as six may be born. Gestation is about 38 to 39 days. The young are looked after by the mother alone and are born helpless, blind and deaf and weigh between 10 and 15 g. Their body is covered by hair at 21 days, their eyes and ears open after three to four weeks, and they develop all their teeth by 42 days. Juvenile red squirrels can eat solids around 40 days following birth and from that point can leave the nest on their own to find food; however, they still suckle from their mother until weaning occurs at 8 to 10 weeks.
The red squirrel is found in both coniferous forest and temperate broadleaf woodlands. The squirrel makes a drey (nest) out of twigs in a branch-fork, forming a domed structure about 25 to 30 cm in diameter. This is lined with moss, leaves, grass and bark. Tree hollows and woodpecker holes are also used.
You may know of the flying squirrel. In Rocky and Bullwinkle Rocket J. Squirrel or Rocky is a flying squirrel. You can see Rocky under the "squirrels in popculture" page.
Flying squirrels are not capable of sustained flight, instead they glide between trees, with flights recorded to 90 meters. The direction and speed of the animal in midair is varied by changing the positions of its two arms and legs, largely controlled by small cartilaginous wrist bones.This changes the tautness of the patagium, a furry parachute-like membrane that stretches from wrist to ankle. It has a fluffy tail that stabilizes in flight. The tail acts as an adjunct airfoil, working as an air brake before landing on a tree trunk.
Though their life expectancy in the wild is six years, flying squirrels may live fifteen years in captivity. This is due to these creatures being important prey animals. Predation mortality rates in sub-adults are high. Predators include arboreal snakes, raccoons, nocturnal owls, martens, fishers, coyotes, and the domestic cat. In the Pacific Northwest of North America, the Northern Spotted Owl (Strix occidentalis) is a well-known predator. Flying squirrels are nocturnal, flying at night as they are not adept in escaping birds of prey that hunt during daylight.Flying squirrels are the oldest line of squirrels around. The modern squirrels have evolved from the flying squirrel. The southern flying squirrel emigrated to North America over the Bering Land Bridge from Asia.
Flying squirrels can easily forage for food in the night, given their highly developed sense of smell, where they hunt for fungi, nuts, fruits and bird eggs.
The California ground squirrel, Spermophilus beecheyi (referred to in some older sources as Otospermophilus beecheyi or Citellus beecheyi), is a common and easily observed ground squirrel of the western United States and the Baja California peninsula; it is common in Oregon and California and its range has relatively recently extended into Washington and northwestern Nevada.
The squirrel's upper parts are mottled, the fur containing a mixture of gray, light brown and dusky hairs; the underside is lighter, buff or grayish yellow. The fur around the eyes is whitish, while that around the ears is black. Head and body are about 30 cm (12 in) long and the tail an additional 15 cm (5.9 in). The tail is relatively bushy for a ground squirrel, and at a quick glance the squirrel might be mistaken for a fox squirrel.
As is typical for ground squirrels, California ground squirrels live in burrows which they excavate themselves. Some burrows are occupied communally. Although they readily become tame in areas used by humans, and quickly learn to take food left or offered by picnickers, they spend most of their time within 25 m (82 ft) of their burrow, and rarely go further than 50 m (160 ft) from it.
In the colder parts of their range, California ground squirrels hibernate for several months, but where winters are mild some squirrels are active year round. In those parts where the summers are hot they may also estivate for periods of a few days.
California ground squirrels are frequently preyed on by rattlesnakes. They are also preyed on by eagles, raccoons, foxes, badgers, and weasels. Interdisciplinary research at the University of California, Davis, since the 1970s has shown that the squirrels use a variety of techniques to reduce rattlesnake predation. Some populations of California ground squirrels have varying levels of immunity to rattlesnake venom as adults. Female squirrels with pups also chew on the skins shed by rattlesnakes and then lick themselves and their pups (who are never immune to venom before one month of age) to disguise their scent. Sand-kicking and other forms of harassment provoke the snake to rattle its tail, which allows a squirrel to assess the size and activity level (dependent on blood temperature) of the snake.