It is true that squirrels are seen as rodents, and we even have guests who complain about these little guys running on the roof sometimes. However we also believe being on a farm they are part of our environment, and we adore all our squirrels. #lovelepommier
FACTS YOU DID NOT KNOW ABOUT SQUIRRELS & REASONS WHY WE ADORE THEM:
- They are nature’s gardeners. Squirrels have an important ecological role, especially in forest ecosystems. Their biggest contribution to the forest is in shaping plant composition. They have a peculiar habit of taking seeds, which are their main source of nutrients, and burying them.
- Squirrels live on every continent except in Australia and Antarctica.
- Squirrels are members of the family Sciuridae, a family that includes small or medium-size rodents.
- Squirrels live in almost every habitat, from tropical rainforest to semiarid desert, avoiding only the high polar regions and the driest of deserts.
- As their large eyes indicate, squirrels have an excellent sense of vision, which is especially important for the tree-dwelling species. Many also have a good sense of touch, with vibrissae on their limbs as well as their heads.
- Many squirrels die in the first year of life. Adult squirrels can have a lifespan of 5 to 10 years in the wild. Some can survive 10 to 20 years in captivity. Premature death may be caused when a nest falls from the tree, in which case the mother may abandon her young if their body temperature is not correct.
- Stated purposes of squirrels’ tails, to benefit the squirrel, include:
To keep rain, wind, or cold off itself.
To cool off when hot, by pumping more blood through its tail.
As a counterbalance when jumping about in trees.
As a parachute when jumping.
To signal with.
- There are more than 200 species of squirrels.
- A group of squirrels are called a scurry or dray. They are very territorial and will fight to the death to defend their area.
- Some squirrels are crepuscular. This means that they are only active at dawn and dusk.
- On average, squirrels eat about one pound of food per week. Many people think that squirrels only eat nuts, but this isn’t true. Squirrels are omnivores, which means they like to eat plants and meat. Squirrels mainly eat fungi, seeds, nuts and fruits, but they will also munch on eggs, small insects, caterpillars, small animals and even young snakes.
- The word ‘Squirrel’ comes from Greek for ‘Shadow Tail’.
- Squirrels are an important food source for lots of nonhuman predators, including snakes, coyotes, hawks, and owls, to name a few.
- Hibernating ground squirrels have a trait that could help protect stroke patients from brain damage, according to research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). When squirrels hibernate, their brains experience significantly reduced blood flow, similar to what humans experience after a certain type of stroke. But squirrels wake up after hibernation with no serious effects. Scientists believe a potential drug inspired by these squirrels’ adaptation could grant the same resilience to the brains of ischemic stroke patients by mimicking the cellular changes that protect the brains of those animals.
- We can thank squirrels for their help in planting more trees; many of the nuts they fail to recover grow into trees.
- The reason they are chewing on things is because they have incisors — front teeth — that are always growing. If they don’t chew on something, their teeth are going to grow into their lower jaw and skull. To avoid that, squirrels will chew on anything that helps wear down their teeth.
- Ground squirrels are primarily omnivores. They munch mainly on plant-based foods like nuts, berries, flowers, and acorns, though they also have been known to eat insects and the occasional small vertebrate. Who knew the squirrel hanging out in your backyard was helping out with pest control?