Squirrels are abundant in U.S. parks and neighborhoods, but most people don’t know a lot about these animals. Many people don’t notice squirrels for much more than their voracious appetites and their ability to invade attics. However, this diverse family of rodents can be incredibly resourceful and adaptive and play an essential role in the food web. Here are a few interesting facts you likely didn’t know about these animals.
1. The Squirrels Family Is Diverse
Not all squirrels are created equal. The squirrel family is one of the most diverse among all modern mammals. Today, more than 270 species of squirrel are found across the globe. The species include everything from tree-dwelling squirrels such as flying squirrels to ground-dwelling creatures such as marmots and chipmunks. Even though these different squirrel species look and behave a bit differently, they are all members of the taxonomic family Sciuridae.
2. Squirrel Teeth Never Stop Growing
Squirrels are well-known for their sharp front teeth, and for a good reason. Their four front teeth never stop growing, at a rate of approximately 6 centimeters annually. Their teeth help them build nests, forage for food and gnaw nuts.
3. Solitary Tree Squirrels Form Groups
Most adult squirrels live alone and avoid other animals unless they are mating. However, the cold weather brings out different behavior in these otherwise solitary creatures. Groups of squirrels commonly form groups during the winter months to create warmth and divide up work.
4. Squirrels Are Critical to the Food Web
Squirrels play a critical role in the health of the globe’s ecosystem. These animals are a primary food source of predators such as hawks, owls, and snakes. While humans have hunted squirrels throughout history, the practice is not as common today. However, squirrels were the main food source for early Americans and served as a key ingredient in commonly eaten dishes.
5. Not All Squirrels Are Omnivores
The common tree squirrel subsists primarily on seeds, nuts, and fruit. However, gray squirrels are considered carnivores and commonly eat insects, bird eggs, and snails. They have even been known to consume animal carcasses when other food sources cannot be found.
6. Not All Gray Squirrels Are Gray
If you notice a black or white squirrel in a U.S. park, it is likely a gray squirrel. Gray squirrels are sometimes black because of a genetic mutation that causes an excess of melanin and the development of dark pigmentation. Gray squirrels can also exhibit a white color. Just like people, squirrels can develop albinism. Some U.S. states, including North Carolina, are home to large populations of squirrels with white fur.
7. Squirrels Can Locate Food in Snow
Unlike many animals, squirrels do not hibernate in the winter. They must forage for food in the cold winter months to stay nourished. Squirrels can detect the smell of food in over a foot of snow. After the food has been detected, the animal digs a tunnel to retrieve its meal.
Work With a Squirrel Control Expert
Are you looking for wildlife removal in Madison? As much as you may enjoy watching squirrels scurry around your local park, you likely don’t want them setting up a nest in your backyard. Squirrels often eat vegetables from gardens, consume large amounts of plants and empty bird feeders. They are particularly active in the summer months and can become a nuisance for Madison homeowners if not dealt with properly. Contact Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control today to learn more about our squirrel control services. All of our technicians are expertly trained and we only employ humane squirrel removal techniques. The safety of your family, property, and animal is our main priority.