We see squirrels almost everywhere outside, whether in our yards or at the neighborhood parks. Humans are very curious about these creatures, from their beautiful furs to their thick, bushy tails and sharp movements. You may have heard that they are also a bag of tricks. Here are a few cool facts about squirrels.
They have ever-growing teeth
One of the most obvious features of a squirrel is the front teeth. These sets of teeth are really strong and sharp. But the most notable thing about the teeth is that they always grow until death. On average, the teeth grow up to six inches per year.
Squirrels feed on hard stuff like tree bark, nuts, and seeds. Their continuous gnawing causes wear and tear in the teeth and, in turn, helps keep the teeth short and sharp. However, their front tooth doesn’t grow back if they lose it.
They Have A Long Lifespan
Squirrels are large rodents but don’t have short lifespans like other species. They can live as long as 16 years on average (making them have a longer lifespan than a dog).
Due to the presence of numerous animals that prey on them in the wild, most young squirrels don’t make it past the first year after birth. But, if they are caged or kept in an environment free of predators, they tend to live longer.
They Are Really Diverse
Amongst mammals, the squirrel is one of the most diverse creatures. There are over 268 species of squirrels in the world. These differences result in variations in size, color, and type of habitat. But they are in three main groups- flying, tree, and ground-dwelling squirrels.
Due to their diversity, squirrels are found almost everywhere in the world, ranging from tropical and temperate rainforests, cities, and farms to grass and woodlands. They can live and thrive under different climatic conditions.
Do They Really Fly?
Some squirrels are known to fly. But these squirrels possess no wings, so how do they get to fly? They don’t fly like birds; they instead glide from tree to tree over long distances (up to about 150 feet).
Flying squirrels possess a wing-like skin flap known as Patagium. The skin flap connects the squirrel’s limb to their bodies, thus forming a wing-like structure used to glide. Flying squirrels have longer limbs than other types of squirrels and use their tails for landing. They also move awkwardly on the ground.
They are intelligent
There are many intelligent animals in the world, and the squirrel is one of the best. During summer and spring, they gather lots of food and store them in the ground in a way other animals find confusing. They have a good sense of smell, which helps locate the buried foods.
They also utilize their intelligence to escape from predators. They know and understand when to hide and run. They move at very fast speeds and confuse their predators by zigzagging. They have excellent means of communication using their tails and sounds.