Squirrel Life Cycles

Written by clara maxwell
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Squirrel Life Cycles
Eastern grey squirrel. ("Wide eyed and Bushy tailed" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: sarniebill1 (Nigel Wedge) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.)

Squirrels are small, agile diurnal mammals. More than 300 species inhabit a wide range of environments, including deserts, woodlands and urban parks. Squirrels live on all continents except Australia. They are divided into three groups: tree squirrels, ground squirrels and flying squirrels.

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Nests

Many tree squirrels live in nests called dreys, large piles of twigs and leaves high in the fork of a tree. Other species live in tree cavities. Ground squirrels live in burrows underground.

Squirrel Life Cycles
Gray squirrel in a tree ("écureuil / squirrel 2" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: OliBac (Olivier) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.)

Mating

Squirrels mate in late winter or early spring. During mating, females will lead males on wild chases, leaping from branch to branch at high speeds.

Squirrel Life Cycles
Superb climbers ("Washington D.C. - Vietnam War Memorial "Squirrel waving hello"" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: David Paul Ohmer (David Ohmer) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.)

Baby Squirrels

Baby squirrels are born naked and blind, weighing no more than one or two ounces. The mother nurses them for about two months. Many species have two litters each year, while others have only one.

Squirrel Life Cycles
Orphaned baby squirrel ("Baby Gray Squirrel" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: audreyjm529 (Audrey) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.)

Life Span

In captivity squirrels can live up to 20 years. Wild squirrels rarely live more than eight years. Mortality is highest in the first year of life.

Predators and Other Dangers

Predators include domestic and wild cats, coyotes and hawks. Flight is the squirrel's primary defence mechanism. Some species chatter or whistle an alarm call. In urban and suburban environments, cars cause many squirrel deaths.

Squirrel Life Cycles
Curious squirrel ("Meeting of Minds" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: Frazzled Jen (Jen Millward) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.)

Diet

Squirrels eat a wide variety of nuts, seeds and fruits. Occasionally they will eat eggs and insects. In urban areas, they also eat human leftovers, including bread and pizza.

Squirrel Life Cycles
Man feeding squirrel ("st james park 2" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: purple monkey dish washer (Roy Costello) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.)

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