20 Things You May Not Know About Squirrel Rodent Part 1


Squirrel rodent often get a lot of attention from humans, but not always for good reason. We’re always thinking about negative things like stolen tomatoes and occupied attics sometimes, and we can’t fully appreciate the long, harmless, and often interesting history of the Squirrel rodent that live among us.

squirrel rodent

The softer side of Squirrel rodent also deserves attention, especially in many large cities and suburbs where Squirrel rodent are among the most conspicuous wildlife. Despite their knack for mischief, they rarely attract the ridicule of more litter-prone urban animals like rats, pigeons, or possums. They are like furry little forest ambassadors, using parks and backyards as their urban embassies.

squirrel rodent

However, even for people who see Squirrel rodent every day, this diverse family of rodents is full of surprises. Here are some interesting facts you may not know about these charismatic opportunists who share our habitat.

squirrel rodent

Squirrel rodent are surprisingly diverse

Squirrel rodent are one of the most diverse of all modern mammals, with over 270 species in 50 genera. It thrives from the Arctic tundra and rainforests to farms, suburbs and large cities. It includes a wide variety of tree Squirrel rodent and flying Squirrel rodent, but also many ground-dwelling species such as chipmunks, groundhogs, and marmots, which may not be so obviously squirrel-like to the casual observer familiar with thick-tailed acrobats. Nonetheless, they are all members of the Sciuridae, which are native to all continents except Australia and Antarctica.

squirrel rodent

The largest squirrel is seven times larger than the smallest

Squirrel rodent range in size from the 5-inch (13-centimeter) African pygmy squirrel to the relatively large Indian giant squirrel or the red-and-white giant flying squirrel of China, all of which can grow to be more than 3 feet (nearly 1 meter) long.

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Their incisors keep growing

A squirrel’s four incisors grow all the time. Squirrel rodent have four incisors that keep growing at a rate of 6 inches (15 centimeters) per year throughout their lives. This helps their incisors endure what seems like constant gnawing.

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They have a knack for messing with electricity

John C. Inglis, former deputy director of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), says that frankly, the number one threat to the U.S. power grid to date is Squirrel rodent. Power lines are no match for squirrel teeth, which have been blamed for hundreds of power outages, including the downtime that briefly shut down the Nasdaq stock market in 1987 and 1994. As the Brookings Institution points out “Squirrel rodent have sabotaged the power grid more times than hackers have zero.

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Lonely tree squirrel rodent keep each other warm in winter

Adult tree Squirrel rodent usually live alone, but during severe cold, they sometimes nest in groups. A group of Squirrel rodent is called a “rush” or “mop-up.”

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Groundhogs build bustling “Towns”

The squirrel family also includes more social types. Prairie dog Squirrel rodent, for example, are gregarious ground Squirrel rodent with complex communication systems and large colonies, or “towns,” that can span hundreds of acres. The largest recorded town is a colony of black-tailed groundhogs in Texas, which is about 100 miles (160 km) wide and 250 miles (400 km) long, with an estimated 400 million groundhogs.

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The word “squirrel” comes from the Greek

All tree Squirrel rodent belong to the genus Sciurus, which comes from the Greek words “skia” (shadow) and “oura” (tail). The name reportedly reflects the tree squirrel’s habit of hiding in the shadow of their long, bushy tails.

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Squirrel rodent were once rare in many U.S. cities

Tree Squirrel rodent like this one in Battery Park were once considered a novelty in New York City, where in July 1856 a crowd gathered in New York’s Central Park to marvel at the rare gray squirrel. By the mid-19th century, tree Squirrel rodent were nearly extinct in many U.S. cities, but in response, cities added more parks and trees, as well as Squirrel rodent. In 1847, Philadelphia hosted the first recorded squirrel reintroduction event, followed by similar events in Boston, New York, and elsewhere. By the mid-1880s, Central Park was home to about 1,500 gray Squirrel rodent.

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American squirrel rodent causing trouble in Britain

In parts of the UK, Eurasian red Squirrel rodent are being defeated by invasive American gray Squirrel rodent.

Eastern gray Squirrel rodent are the most common tree Squirrel rodent in the United States, but in addition to helping them regain their lost habitat, people are taking them outside their habitat, from western North America to Europe and South Africa. Eastern gray Squirrel rodent are now an invasive pest in the United Kingdom, where they threaten the smaller native red squirrel (see above). Squirrel rodent have also become invasive in other parts of the world, including Australia, where there is no native Squirrel rodent.

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Squirrel rodent play an important role in the food web

Squirrel rodent are an important food source for many non-human predators, including snakes, coyotes, hawks and owls. They have long been hunted as well, and were once a staple of American dishes such as Kentucky burgoo and Brunswick stew, although today other meats are often used instead.

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Tree Squirrel rodent eat mostly nuts, seeds, and fruit, but they are omnivores. For example, gray Squirrel rodent are known to eat insects, snails, bird eggs, and dead animals when other foods are scarce. However, like many rodents, Squirrel rodent do not vomit. (They also don’t burp or get heartburn.)

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Only a few grounds squirrel rodent hibernate

Some ground squirrels hibernate, but most squirrel species rely on storing food in order to survive the winter. This can mean storing all of their food in one nest, although this can be easily stolen by thieves, and some nesting ground squirrels can lose half of their stash as a result. Many squirrels use a technique called “scatter hoarding,” in which they spread their food over hundreds of caches, a labor-intensive means of preventing theft.

squirrel mating season

Tree Squirrel rodent have even been known to dig fake holes to fool bystanders, but thanks to their detailed spatial memory and strong sense of smell, they can still recover up to 80% of their caches. Some fox Squirrel rodent also use a memory strategy to organize nuts by species. Even the food lost by this squirrel rodent is not really lost because the unrecovered nuts simply become new trees.