Squirrels – Nuts For Squirrels

Urban Wildlife series

Perhaps all of the above. Many find this energy-packed powerhouse a nuisance, of sorts. They can strip trees of fruit, empty a bird feeder in minutes, and chew yard ornaments into termite fodder in seconds.

However, these mischievous and clever little creatures are also true dynamites in their own light. They have adapted to urban life without missing a blink. They are hard workers. They store food caches for the future. They expend energy and they recycle. They replenish the environment around them, always leaving more than what they take.  In short, we can learn a lot from a squirrel.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

What animal is faster at dodging a bullet, more acrobatic than a human, and can leap onto tall bird feeders in a single bound? Well, that’s Super Squirrel, of course!

The gray squirrel is a common sight at backyard bird feeders. They have jumped, bounded, leaped, and somersaulted onto every bird feeder in America. They have out-smarted, out-classed, out-witted and out-performed every obstacle course known to mankind. They always come out on top.

There are over a hundred different species of arboreal (tree) squirrels. They are a close cousin of the chipmunk, marmots, prairie dog, groundhog, flying squirrel and a more distant cousin of rodents in general.

Squirrels rely on a diet rich in carbohydrates, protein and fats. They are unable to digest cellulose, which rules out most vegetation. A little known fact about squirrels is that along with their most common diet of tree seeds and nuts, they will supplement their diet with protein by eating insects, small reptiles or amphibians, and even at times, small mammals.

Squirrel eating bird

Squirrels are very athletic. They have been known to leap six times their body length from a standing position. That would be like you or I leaping 55-60 feet (or up to six stories) in the air from the ground on the first try. This defines athleticism on a whole new level.

Squirrels are very clever. They have the ability to figure out obstacle courses and anything that hinders them from their goals. People have taken this ability and created entire mazes built exclusively for squirrels, simply for their own entertainment, as depicted in this video by hoskand.

Squirrel Laying Down

Squirrels are very entertaining creatures. They are versatile, clever, and very athletic. The next time you see a squirrel, stop and observe him for a few minutes. You may just be surprised at what you learn. Who knows? You may just end up becoming nuts for squirrels!

Cheshire Squirrel

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