Can you believe this character? My initial reaction was ‘no’. No way, buddy. Take a hike. Beat it. Vamoose. But I quickly backpedaled when he threatened to gang up with all the other grey squirrels in the neighbourhood and tear apart my garden. Leaf by leaf. Flower bud by flower bud. Who knew that squirrels could be so riotous?
And so here we are with a
The eastern grey squirrel, a prolific animal that is highly adaptable wherever it resides, is native to the eastern and Midwestern United States, and to the southerly portions of the eastern provinces of Canada, which is where I live.
Squirrels gather food in small caches for later recovery. Some of the caches are temporary, particularly those that were created near a site with a sudden abundance of food – like my bird feeders.
The food in temporary caches is typically retrieved within hours or a few days to be reburied in a more secure location. The permanent caches, which can number in the several thousands per squirrel per season, may not be retrieved until months later.
The squirrels have very accurate spatial memory for the locations of these caches, and use distant and nearby landmarks to retrieve them. Smell is used once the squirrel is within a few centimeters of the cache.
Squirrels sometimes pretend to bury something if they think they are being watched. They dig a hole as usual and mime the placement and burial of food, but actually hide the object in their mouth and bury it somewhere else. I have witnessed this habit and find it quite fascinating.
They are active during the day, particularly at dawn and dusk, and feed on seeds, nuts, buds, insects, bird eggs and fungi, depending on the time of year.
The playful and attractive grey squirrel is very popular with the public, and often a welcome sight in urban landscapes, but is also considered a serious pest in certain areas.