Nuts about Squirrels

Squirrels are one of the most common critters around, but how much do you know about this remarkable rodent? Here are 10 facts that will make you nuts about squirrels!

  1. The Indian giant squirrel is the biggest species of squirrels. It can grow up to be 36 inches long! The African pygmy squirrel is the smallest species of squirrels. They grow to be about 2.8-5 inches long.
  2. Squirrels have four front teeth. Their front teeth never stop growing! Squirrels must gnaw to keep their teeth at the right length.
  3. There are three categories of squirrels: ground squirrels, tree squirrels, and flying squirrels. Flying squirrels can glide through the air! This is because they have flaps of skin that connects their limbs, which provides a wing-like surface.
  4. Squirrels know when nuts are ripe by using their sense of smell. To find nuts they’ve previously buried, they use memory, smell, and observation of disturbed soil to find them.
  5. A drey is a squirrel’s nest. They are compact, spherical structures that are constructed out of twigs, leaves, bark, and grass. They weigh slightly less than a football and are assembled in the forks of tall trees.
  6. Squirrels use different methods of communication. They will use a wide range of calls as well as use their tails to communicate. Twitching their tail means they are communicating to others that they are suspicious of a threat.
  7. Squirrels are speedy critters! They can run as fast as 20 mph!
  8. Squirrels can help our environment! They are one of the most important animals for helping to spread and start the growth of oak trees. 30% of the acorns they store are never recovered. This allows the acorns to grow into trees!
  9. They are not afraid of heights. They will jump from up to 20 feet high! They have padded feet to cushion those jumps. When jumping from a significant height, they can use their fluffy tails like a parachute to help balance themselves during the jump.
  10. The most common tree squirrel species in Iowa are fox squirrels and eastern gray squirrels!