Here are 10 amazing facts about squirrels, the cute nut-burying, scampering animals that brighten our life in the city. Have a nice “Squirrel Appreciation Day” 🙂
1. There are over 260 species of squirrels.
The largest one is “Indian giant squirrel”, which is a whopping 3 feet long animal. The smallest one is really tiny, at about 10cm long.
2. Human introduced squirrels to the cities.
You can read about this amazing story of how squirrels ended up living in U.S major cities’ parks.
3. Squirrels can spot food buried half a meter under the snow!
When the winter is harsh, food can become difficult to find. Luckily, nature has equipped squirrels with the ability to spot food buried under the snow! When they smell the hidden treasure, they dig tunnels and get to their reward.
4. Squirrels’ front teeth keep growing for their entire life!
In fact, this is a common characteristic of other rodents too.
5. Squirrels often lose their buried food!
It’s not clear if these cute animals tend to forget where they buried their food but we know that almost 25% of it gets stolen by other squirrels! Other “thieves” include birds that also try to spot where food may be buried and get a free meal 🙂
6. Squirrels pretend to bury food to throw off thieves!
So, if there are so many thieves around looking for your yummy nuts, what do you do? You deceive them by faking a buried nut! They dig holes in the ground and quickly cover it up again to deceive thieves into believing their food is stored there. Squirrels are very intelligent animals and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they are able to use such techniques.
7. Squirrels make their own mushroom jerky!
For starters squirrels love mushrooms and this food actually helps them to avoid some intestinal infections. But they don’t stop there. Squirrels reportedly hang mushrooms on trees and let them dry, effectively producing their own mushroom jerky.
8. Squirrels put on weight to prepare for winter!
Squirrels use the strategy of gaining weight before winter so the extra fat keeps them warm during cold days.
9. Squirrels run in zig zag, erratic paths.
This is a strategy they have developed to confuse predators about their chosen direction and it makes them a more difficult prey.
10. Squirrels help our forests grow!
It’s actually a happy accident but when a squirrel “forgets” where it has buried its food or -worse- becomes a prey before it manages to dig it out, a tree sprouts!
So, how was your score? How many facts about squirrels did you know?