types of squirrels

Types of Squirrels- 9/27/14

There are many types of squirrels, and a few of the most common ones are the gray squirrels (both eastern and western), the Red Squirrel, and chipmunks. Ground Squirrels have burrows in the ground, and stay on the ground most of the time. They live underground in the winter, and store food in their burrows. The Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel is one such squirrel, as is the Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel, (but it actually looks like a chipmunk). Chipmunks are similar to ground squirrels, and there are many different kinds.  They spend a lot of time gathering nuts on the ground but will sometimes climb trees. Antelope squirrels look a lot like ground squirrels but hold their tail differently to expose the white underside.  Marmots have burrows in the ground as well, and the Woodchuck (also known as groundhog) is a type of marmot.  Marmots look like really large roly-poly squirrels, only they usually stay on the ground.  Prairie dogs are squirrels that live in large colonies in western states, and  have a highly organized social structure. Flying squirrels have a special flap of skin by their arms that extends when they jump so that they can glide from tree to tree.  Unlike most squirrels, they are out at night.  Tree squirrels include the gray squirrels, the Red squirrel, Douglas’ squirrel, and others.  Tree squirrels live in trees but go to the ground to look for food.  They build homes in the trees and stay active in the winter, except on very cold days.  Different squirrels prefer different food items.  For instance, gray squirrels prefer acorns while Red Squirrels prefer pine nuts. An interesting fact is that the family name, Sciuridae, means “shade-tail”.


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