The Fox Squirrel is the most common squirrel in Nebraska, with Grey Squirrels along the lower Missouri River, and a spattering of Black Squirrels in the Eastern part of the state. But worldwide there are over 365 species of squirrels! An adult squirrel typically lives alone, but will huddle together in their nests during extreme cold to stay warm. In the winter, squirrels are most active in the morning hours and tend to stick around the nest the rest of the day. Mating season begins in late summer and again in late winter so acrobatic chase scenes are more common during those periods. Through January and August listen for the screeching calls of the young in the nest begging for food. In the summer, squirrels are most active in the morning and tend to rest in the afternoon. They will reemerge to forage for a couple hours before sunset.
• Typical litter size is 3-4.
• Squirrels’ can eat their weight in seed in one week, about 4 lbs.
• Squirrels’ front teeth grow 6 inches per year and are worn down by gnawing.
• Top speed for squirrels is 20 mph.
• Squirrels can launch themselves 4 vertical feet and 8 horizontal feet.
• They can scale a half inch pole or shimmy down a thin wire.
Whether you admire squirrels or detest their ability to out smart us, I highly recommend “Enjoying Squirrels More” by Bird Watchers Digest, or “Outwitting Squirrels” by Bill Alder. Bill has captured the essence of squirrels in this comical but realistic book providing the facts about our backyard squirrels that some love but others deplore. Both books are available at the Wild Bird Habitat Store.
Wingtip: Squirrels mark their trails through the tree branches with a scent gland. If another squirrel crosses the trail of another a chase usually erupts.