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Fun Facts About Squirrels

American red squirrels feed on the seeds of evergreen trees.
Credit: Barb Thomas

More than 200 species of squirrels are found all over the world, except in Antarctica. These small, bushy-tailed rodents are common in many wooded areas. Squirrels belong to the Sciuridae family, which includes tree and ground squirrels, flying squirrels, chipmunks, prairie dogs and marmots.

Squirrels range in size from the African pygmy squirrel at 2.8 to 3.9 inches (7 to 10 centimeters) in length and just 0.35 ounces (10 grams) in weight, to the Indian giant squirrel that is 36 inches (1 meter) long and weighs up to 4 pounds (1.8 kilograms).

Squirrels mainly eat seeds, nuts, fungi and fruits. Some squirrels will also eat small insects and even young snakes.

Other facts about squirrels

albino Squirrel
Albino squirrels are quite popular in some parts of the United States. Olney, Ill., is one of the towns that calls itself "Home of the White Squirrels," along with Marionville, Mo., and Brevard, N.C. The township of Kenton, Tenn., proudly boasts a population of 200 of the furry, pale rodents.
Credit: Andrea Browning

A squirrel has padded feet that helps it jump from high distances, even as much as 20 feet (6 meters).

Gray squirrels bury their acorns all over the place, often forgetting where they put them, causing the seeds to become oak trees.

The eyes on a squirrel are high on their head, on each side, so they have a wide range of vision without having to turn their head back and forth.

The gray squirrel comes in many different colors, such as shades of grey, shades of brown or even black.

Squirrels can communicate with each other through various sounds. Some types of ground squirrel warn each other of predators by a whistling sound.

Squirrels can run as fast as 20 mph (32 kph).

Flying squirrels actually glide. They have a muscle membrane between their legs and body that allows gliding from a higher point to a lower point at a distance of up to 160 feet (48 m).

Other resources:

Humane Society of the United States - Squirrel

Massachusetts Department of Wildlife and Fisheries - Gray Squirrel

National Geographic - Squirrel

BBC Nature - Squirrel

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