Tag Archives: squirrels

Squirrels and Chipmunks

Red Squirrel on White Pine Tree

Red Squirrel on White Pine Tree

 

Eastern Chipmunk

Eastern Chipmunk

I am reposting a couple of photos from last year. The first one is a photo of a Red Squirrel, and the second one is an Eastern Chipmunk. We get these animals a lot where I live. The Red Squirrel prefers pinecones while the chipmunk prefers acorns.

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Red Squirrel on White Pine Tree

Red Squirrel on White Pine Tree

Red Squirrel on White Pine Tree

This is a photo I took a couple of years ago of a Red Squirrel on a white pine tree.  Red Squirrels prefer white pine trees to other trees because they like the pine nuts.  As you can see, they are not really red, but are more of a reddish-brown.  They are also very active and like to chatter a lot.  I have more information on them here: https://studiobluespruce.wordpress.com/2014/10/04/red-squirrels/

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Autumn Chipmunk

Eastern Chipmunk

Eastern Chipmunk

This is a photo I took last year in Michigan of an Eastern Chipmunk in a Rhododendron bush.  They gather many seeds, nuts and fruit in preparation for their winter sleep.  It is not a real hibernation though, because they wake up periodically to eat from their store of food.  They do have a somewhat lower body temperature when they sleep, however.  There are many different regional chipmunks in different areas across the country.  It can be rather hard to tell them apart.  I reviewed a guidebook last year, The Audubon Guide to Mammals, that has a section that covers different kinds of chipmunks.

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Black Squirrel with White Tail

White-Tailed Squirrel on Spruce

White-Tailed Squirrel on Spruce

This is a photo I took of a black squirrel with an unusual white tail.  There were two squirrels like this that were coming around for over a year, but I don’t see them anymore.  By the way, the black squirrel is really a variation of the gray squirrel, but is often found farther north.

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Book Review: Winter World

Winter world book by Bernd Heinrich

Winter World by Bernd Heinrich

4/8/15

Book Review-Winter World by Bernd Heinrich

Winter World by Bernd (not a misspelling) Heinrich is an interesting book written by a wildlife biologist who also does his own drawings.  It explains how animals use ingenuity and natural traits to survive the winter. It goes into detail about how field mice, flying squirrels, and other small animals survive the winter by foraging, huddling together, and gathering warm material for their homes. There is a funny story he tells about how some mice got into his cabin in Vermont when he was not there, and started chewing up styrofoam insulation in the ceiling to use as bedding material.  He also talks about how animals like turtles hibernate under the mud, and about the complex biological changes that occur during hibernation.  All in all this is a great reference book to have around, or to read straight through.

For more information or to buy at an independent bookseller:
http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780061129070?aff=(your_affiliate_cynthiaac)

For info on the indiebound program:
http://www.studiobluespruce/wordpress.com/reviews/indiebound-program/

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Squirrel Tanka

12/20/14

Squirrel in the Tree Top

squirrel reddish brown
squirrel reaching for pine cone,
fluffy tail fans out
pine needles on ground below
in early morning sunshine

note: A Tanka is a type of poetry similar in form to a Haiku, but the syllables per line are 5:7:5:7:7.

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Squirrel Haiku

Squirrel Haiku
10/28/14

Squirrel

squirrel jump on tree
leap from branch to branch, run off
a blur with pine cones

 

note: a haiku is a poem, often about nature, that usually has three lines with the number of syllables per line 5:7:5.

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Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel

Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel
11/11/14

The Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel has a size and shape that is similar to a chipmunk, but has a coat pattern that is rather hard to describe. It would be a good idea to look this up in a field guide if you want to get a better idea of how it looks. They are a little larger than a chipmunk and have thirteen white stripes down their back with rows of white dots in between the white stripes (got that?).  I have only seen this animal one time, at Clear Lake State Park.  This ground squirrel ranges from south central Canada to the central U.S. , the Great Lakes states, and into northern Texas. According to my field guide they can run up to 8 mph and give a bird-like trill when alarmed.

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Where do you see squirrels?

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Gray Squirrels

Gray Squirrels
10/16/14

Gray Squirrels can often be found high in the canopy of a tree.  They often cut green acorns in the late summer.  They have a very bushy tail that they use to cover themselves with and stay warm, to sheild them from rain, and for balance when jumping from tree to tree.  Gray Squirrels come in two color variations: gray with a tinge of other colors such as brown or white, and black ( sometimes with a tinge of brown).  There are both western and eastern forms of Gray Squirrels, and some less commonly known varieties: Abert’s Squirrel, otherwise known as the “tassel-eared squirrel”, the Arizona Gray Squirrel, and the Mexican Gray Squirrel. The Fox Squirrels (both the Eastern Fox Squirrel and the Mexican Fox Squirrel) are in the same Gray Squirrel family, but are somewhat larger and have more of a brownish coloration. Generally they prefer deciduous or mixed forests for their acorns, but can also be seen in many city parks and backyards.  When they find acorns, they can be seen digging a hole in the ground, and then sticking the acorn in and covering it with dirt. They may look like they are patting the dirt.  In the winter and early spring they dig these nuts up and eat them.  They have a loud barking call that they make when they are alarmed, and also various other chattering noises.

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Red Squirrels

I have been seeing a lot of red squirrels recently.  Red squirrels are tree squirrels that are very small, maybe twice as big as a chipmunk, with a chipmunk – like tail.  They are reddish brown in color, and are particularly active in the fall.  They climb up the white pine trees by the edge of the woods to cut green pine cones so they can eat the pine nuts inside.  After they eat them there are a lot of pine bits and pieces underneath the pine trees.  They also find pine cones that have fallen down naturally, and carry them off  to hide them.  They grab the pine cone in their mouth longways as they run off, which is interesting because the pine cones are long, and they are a small squirrel, only a couple times the length of the pine cone.  They have a very loud trill that I find pleasing to listen to and rather cheerful.  They have a variety of chattering noises they make as well.

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Poll: What types of squirrels have you seen?

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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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