Simple as this question may sound, most of the people will not be able to answer it confidently. If people are confused about the habitat of squirrels, it is because of the great deal of diversity we get to see in this rodent family.
Remember the famous Chip 'N' Dale animation series of Disney? The duo has been a big hit with kids and grown ups alike. I still love to watch this series whenever it comes on the T.V. Squirrels are among the most beautiful animals on the Earth. With their cute little eyes, long bushy tail, and swift movements, they never fail to attract and amuse people.
Interesting Facts About Squirrels
Squirrels belong to the Sciuridae family of rodents. When we talk of squirrels, we refer to tree squirrels, ground squirrels, flying squirrels, chipmunks, marmots, and prairie dogs.
The Americas, Eurasia, and Africa are regions from where these rodents are believed to have originated.
Squirrels live in places where there is abundance of food. Generally, they inhabit places that are abundant in nut and seed producing plants and trees. Areas which are full of new grasses and plants are also populated by squirrels, as they love to feed on new plant shoots.
In cities, their habitat spans areas which have trees, specifically for building nests (dreys) to bring up their young ones. What about the months with dropping mercury? When winter starts to set in, these mammals reside in tree trunks to keep themselves warm.
Afternoon heat gives them great relief during the colder months. Those squirrels who cannot find enough space in tree holes or cavities, sneak their way into the attics of local homes. There they are safe from cold, and also protected from enemies, like hawks, cats, and even snakes.
Squirrels feed on nuts, acorns, wheat, fruits, almonds, walnuts, oranges, avocados, apples, apricots, leaves, berries, seeds, oak buds, fungi, and a variety of other plants.
In city dwellings, they may also feed on dog food, table scraps, and anything which smells or tastes good. Though they are primarily herbivores, they do enjoy occasional treats of bird eggs, insects, small frogs, moths, etc.
These animals do not finish off their food right away. Instead, they keep it buried underground or store it in other hiding places. Even though this goes on all year round, it is at its peak in fall, as they prepare for winters, which are marked by food scarcity.
Squirrels can live up to 10 or 12 years in the wild. They are considered adults, when they turn 6-year old. Their brain is the size of a walnut.
Squirrels are most active during the day. In summer, they can be spotted in the early morning and late evening. During winters, they are at their best in the afternoon. During the mating season, on the other hand, they are active at night.
These rodents chew on tree branches and power lines to groom their teeth. It prevents their teeth from growing continuously.
Science attributes gray squirrels as living fossils, as they haven't undergone any change in 37 million years.
Squirrels communicate through a series of chirps and early spring is usually the time when squirrel babies are born. Also, they are the cleanest in the rodent family.