Where do squirrels sleep?
Squirrels are rodents of the family Sciuridae.
The squirrel family includes tree squirrels, ground squirrels, chipmunks, marmots (including woodchucks), flying squirrels, and prairie dogs amongst other rodents.
Squirrels are indigenous to the Americas, Eurasia, and Africa, and were introduced by humans to Australia.
Some 60% of squirrel species are arboreal (tree-dwelling), while the remainder lives on the ground and in bushes.
Tree squirrels feed mostly on buds, leaves, and twigs, while ground squirrels and chipmunks eat seeds and nuts.
Ground-dwelling species of squirrel typically store food for later consumption.
Tree-dwelling species, on the other hand, often rely on food cached in previous foraging trips.
Squirrels are good jumpers, climbers, and swimmers.
They are mainly solitary (with the exception of mating), but some squirrels will share their nests during the winter months.
Squirrels do not hibernate, but some will stay and sleep in their nest during the winter.
Some squirrels are well known for burying nuts and storing them as a supply of food to be consumed later in the season.
However, if these same squirrels are kept away from their places of hiding, they often forget where they have hidden all this food.
Different Squirrel Species
Different species of squirrels live in different habitats.
The most common types are ground squirrels, tree squirrels, and flying squirrels.
The most common type of ground-dwelling species of squirrel is the thirteen-lined ground squirrel.
This species of squirrel lives in grasslands throughout central North America.
It has adapted well to the presence of human beings.
They can be found in old fields, pastures, parks, lawns, and even golf courses.
Generally speaking, ground-dwelling squirrels are burrowing animals.
They make their homes underground in burrows that they dig themselves or where they take over existing burrows made by other animals such as gophers.
There are two types of tree-dwelling squirrels.
One type is the flying squirrel and the other is a more common tree squirrel, such as an Eastern Gray Squirrel.
Tree-dwelling species of squirrels do not hibernate as ground-dwellers do, but will stay and sleep in their nests during the winter.
They remain fairly inactive during this period.
They rely on the food they have cached earlier in the year for sustenance.
Tree-dwelling squirrels will also come down from their trees to eat nuts, seeds, and other types of vegetation found on the ground.
The two types of flying squirrel are the Southern flying squirrel and the Northern flying squirrel.
Flying squirrels get their name from the fact that they actually glide rather than fly.
Their skin flaps up and out, gluing to the loose skin of the animal’s belly and allowing them to make controlled leaps from tree to tree.
Though not as acrobatic as tree squirrels this species is still capable of making impressive jumps when necessary.
Flying squirrels are significant in that they can actually alter the shape of their rib cage to adjust for take-off and landing and also alter the angle of their fur to provide more lift.
These adaptations allow them to glide as much as 150 feet from tree to tree with only a few flaps of their “wings”.
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