Fun Facts About Squirrels

Squirrels fit into three general groups: tree squirrels, ground squirrels, and flying squirrels, all of which are represented in Oregon and Washington.

• One of our backyard species, the fox squirrel, is also the largest in North America, reaching lengths of more than two feet! Fun Facts About Squirrels

• Squirrels eat a wide variety of plants, nuts, seeds, conifer cones, fruits, fungi, and green vegetation.

• Their nests are called dreys and are usually no bigger than an American football. Although spherical in shape, they are often assembled in the forks of tall trees. They’re made of grass, twigs, leaves, and bark.

• Squirrels have have four front teeth that grow constantly throughout their life. The way they gnaw on nuts, trees, and other objects mean their teeth don’t grow too long as it wears them down.

• In most species, parental care is the sole responsibility of the female squirrel.

• Most squirrels have a spring and a fall litter. Litter sizes range from one or two to as many as nine or more.

• In all squirrels, gestation period is short, being somewhere between 3 and 6 weeks.

• Newly born squirrels are helpless and will usually be weaned by 10 weeks old.

• Young squirrels may venture out of the nest at 45 days old, but many remain near their mother and often share her nest even after being weaned.

• Many squirrels molt twice a year, sporting a lighter coat in summer than in winter.

• Tree squirrels use their tails as a balance, as a rudder, as a flag to communicate social signals and as a blanket.