While you’ll commonly see them across gardens, parks and in woodlands all over the world, people still feel that spotting a squirrel is something pretty special. They’re quick movers and are famously pretty shy – but get up close, and you’ll find that there’s plenty you can learn about these literally nutty critters. Here’s 15 interesting facts about squirrels to help clue you in.
Squirrels are fantastic acrobats. In fact, it’s thought that they are able to jump around ten times their own body lengths when they need to.
Despite having amazing vision, squirrels are actually born completely blind. It takes time to develop such keen eyesight!
Squirrels are unable to burp or regurgitate.
All squirrels are double-jointed in their hind legs. This means that they can scurry and climb quicker than many other mammals. It’s crucial to their survival as a species.
Believe it or not, it’s thought that there are around 200 different species of squirrel all over the world. In fact, chipmunks are even considered part of the family line.
You’ll find squirrels and their families everywhere in the world – apart from Antarctica, for obvious reasons, and Australia – oddly enough!
Tree squirrels, believe it or not, eat more than just nuts and fruit. They are even known to eat bird eggs and snails!
Squirrels are famously nimble, as well as being amazingly hardy. It’s thought that a squirrel will fall and survive drops of up to 30m.
Flying squirrels are some of the most famous species of the rodent. However, despite their name, they can’t actually fly. They gain this name from the gliding action they make when jumping from tree to tree. They have large flaps of skin between their arms and legs which expand into a parachute. They use these to gracefully glide through the air!
If not for squirrels, we wouldn’t have nearly as many oak trees. That’s because squirrels burying acorns and forgetting where they put them can account for scores of trees growing in the wild. It’s thought that squirrels will only ever retrieve around 30% of the nuts, acorns, and seeds that they bury in the soil.
Squirrels communicate with each other through a fairly complex language! As well as using various chirps and cheeps, they will also move their tails around to create signals.
Squirrels are known to gorge on food, as well as to store it for safe keeping. An average squirrel may be able to double its body weight in the space of a week.
In fact, a squirrel is likely to need around a pound of food – around two thirds of its average body weight – per week to survive.
Squirrels are famously nippy creatures. Most will scurry along at around 10 mph; however, particularly spry individuals can hit top speeds of double this.
Some squirrels can be extremely solitary. A good example of this is the American Red Squirrel, which will often live alone and exhibit territorial behaviour.
Do you have any interesting or fun facts about squirrels that we’ve missed? Share them here in the comments section below!