Thursday, June 17, 2010

Today's Trivia - Squirrels

Love them or hate them, squirrels are everywhere; in your garden, on your bird feeders and wherever else food may be available. How much do we know about these cute but pesky critters? Not much. So today’s trivia is all about them...

Some Interesting Things About Squirrels...

1. The sweat glands of a tree squirrel are located on their feet, between the foot pads and on their paws between the toes.

2. Squirrels communicate through a series of chirps. The frequency and the duration of the notes communicate everything from laughter to alarm.

3. A squirrel will break the shell of a nut with its teeth then clean the nut by licking it or rubbing it on its face before it is buried. This action applies a scent to the nut which helps the squirrel find it later, even under a foot of snow.

4. Squirrels are the cleanest animals in the rodent family. If a squirrel's nest becomes infested with fleas or other parasites, it will move to, or build a new nest.

5. Gray squirrels build nests in unusual places; attics and crawl spaces are the most commonly-chosen areas, but automobiles, chimneys, barbecue grills and the underneath of porches have been used.

6. A squirrel’s teeth never stop growing. Gnawing keeps teeth from growing into a squirrel’s neck.

7. When frightened, squirrels dart back and forth to confuse predators. This doesn't work well with cars; most city squirrels don't live longer than a year.

8. The gray squirrel’s diet consists of nuts, seeds and fruit. But it will also eat bird eggs, bugs, and even an animal carcass if there is no other food source available.

9. Gray squirrels bury their acorns all over the place ("scatter hoarding"), then forget where. Forgotten acorns become trees. This forgetfulness is the main way oak and other hardwood forests grow and spread, scientists say.

10. Gray squirrels are called "living fossils" because they haven't changed much in 37 million years.

11. There are about 300 different types of squirrels around the world. In North America there are ten.

12. Squirrels vary in size. A gray squirrel can be up to three times the size of a red one but smaller than a fox squirrel.

13. A squirrel needs about two pounds of food a week. If it can’t find it where it lives, it will move to a new location.

14. Squirrels typically live in tree trunk holes or in treetop crow’s nests. The homes in the treetops are called dreys and can consist of two rooms and a nursery.

15. Mating begins when a squirrel is about a year old. Size weeks after the mating, baby squirrels (kittens) are born.

16. A female squirrel gives birth twice a year – in the spring and end of summer – and has two to five kittens each time.

17. Squirrels can live up to 10 – 12 years.

18. Animals that prey on squirrels include red-tailed, owls, raccoons, wildcats, foxes and opossums

19. No matter how much trouble they cause, because of their silly antics and cute looks, squirrels are among of the best-loved animals.

20. Regardless of the genetics that give them their coat colour, they are all members of the Eastern Grey Squirrel family.

And that sums up this week’s interesting but useless information!


  1. I am firmly in the love squirrels camp, and can watch them for hours! Of course my cats quickly cause calamity at the windows and they usually flee.

  2. I really, really like squirrels. I think they're hilarious and very cute. And even when I'm soooo angry at them for messing up something or hogging up the feeders, I still like them.