I was replacing a roof and came upon a surprising find. Buried under the ridge shingles I found a snack catch of nut and seeds. The snacks were both carefully placed and hidden from prying eyes. A perfect spot for a quick meal.
Like most properties, this one had some resident squirrels living close by. Squirrels are amazing animals, and so I thought I would share some facts about them.
There are over 250 different species of squirrels in the world, and they are native to the Americas, Africa, Europe, and Asia. Although not native to Australia, they were brought there and now inhabit this content.
Squirrels are very intelligent. They bury stores of food which they can retrieve in the winter. They are able to find their hidden meals under a foot of snow.
Squirrels are accomplished liars. They will go through elaborate “burying rituals” where they won’t bury anything. This is to “fake out” other squirrels and animals who may want to steal their food. After they are done with their act they will quietly bury their nuts and seeds elsewhere.
Squirrels are mostly herbivores, they eat plants. However, when hungry they give up their vegetarian roots and are happy to eat a wide variety of foods including birds and eggs.
Squirrels are very skilled at solving problems. Anyone who has tried to make a bird feeder “squirrel proof” will agree with this. They are capable of finding the shortest path to a destination, and they can remember that path for future trips.
Squirrels range in size based on their particular species. Some are as small as a few inches, while others can be over four feet long.
Squirrels are one of the few “wild” animals that will allow you to hand feed them. However, you probably shouldn’t do this.
Squirrels have one to two broods a season, and usually birth 2-4 pups at a time.
Squirrels do loose track of some of their food stashes, and these seeds grow into new plants. I guess this makes them gardeners too!
Squirrels can live from 5-10 years in the wild, and much longer in captivity.
As you can see squirrels are pretty amazing animals. They have learned to not only survive but to thrive in an urban environment.