February 27th, 2015

What Are the Different Types of Squirrels? :: pest-control …

NYC Squirrel Pest Control, by admin.

Except for gardeners having to replace bulbs and seedlings, and homeowners having to repair roofs, insulation, ceilings, and foundations, most people like having cute little squirrels of all kinds around. When squirrels become a pest, however, knowing the different types of squirrels is essential for choosing the rodent removal methods that will work. And even when the desire is encouraging squirrels to visit a park or woodland, understanding the different types of squirrels is necessary for protecting squirrels from predators, disease and knowing how to get rid of squirrels.

The most common squirrel in North America is the red squirrel. It is so common, in fact, that the nomenclature for red squirrels gets more than a little confusing. Sciurus niger, its Latin zoological name, literally means black squirrel (Tesky, Julie L has wrote a paper on them). Red squirrels are also known as fox squirrels, stump-eared squirrels, raccoon squirrels, and monkey-faced squirrels. They are often mistaken for Eastern gray squirrels, despite the fact that the red squirrel has a reddish coat on its back, red and black on its tail, and rust-colored fur on its legs.

Red squirrels are found throughout North America east of the Rocky Mountains, except in Canadas maritime provinces and in New England. They were once also the most common squirrel in the United Kingdom and Europe, although in many locations the red squirrel has been nearly wiped out by diseases brought by the imported gray squirrel.

From its nose to the tip of its tail, the red squirrel may be as much as a meter (39 inches) long. The body of an adult red squirrel ranges from 45 to 70 cm (18 to 28 inches) long and the tail from 20 to 35 cm (8 to 14 inches) long. Adults weigh between 500 and 1000 grams (1.1 to 2.2 pounds), with little difference in the sizes of male and female adults.

Red squirrels are omnivores (Nature Works gives a very good description of omnivores). They prefer nuts and seeds, but they will also eat the eggs of nesting birds, small lizards, and small snakes. Pet red squirrels may live as long as 18 years, but the overwhelming majority of red squirrels in the wild are consumed by predators before they reach maturity at the age of one year.

The the gray squirrel, Sciurus carolinensis , is the predominant species of squirrel on the Atlantic seaboard of the United States and Canada. In Canada and the UK it is usually referred to as the grey squirrel. It ranges across the southern United States to west Texas and is also found in the American Midwest.

The gray squirrel has a grayish-brown coat on its back and white fur on its belly. In urban areas where gray squirrels have few predators, however, some individual gray squirrels will grow red or even white fur on their backs. Most gray squirrels in Canada have black fur on their backs, and some gray squirrels in New England have white tails and black fur on their backs or black tails and white fur on their backs. Gray squirrels are a little smaller than red squirrels, just 23 to 30 cm (9 to 12 inches) from head to tail with tails 20 to 25 cm (8 to 10 inches) long. They weigh usually about half as much red squirrels, 400 to 600 grams (about 3/4 to 1-1/4 pounds).

The gray squirrel eats nuts and seeds almost exclusively. It is a scatter-hoarder, burying nuts and seeds randomly but densely enough that it does not have to remember where it laid in its winter supplies. When the time comes to rely on stored food, the squirrel simply starts digging until it finds a nut or seed. When nuts are scarce, however, the gray squirrel can remember the location of food from visual landmarks, and it can smell caches of nuts from about 2 cm (1) away. Individual squirrels make thousands of caches of food every season. Unlike other kinds of squirrels, they can descend from trees head first.

Gray squirrels were introduced into the UK and Ireland in the nineteenth century. They have been much more successful than the native red squirrels in the British Isles and across most of Western Europe (the ADW will give you more info about their habitat).

The gray squirrel is the natural reservoir for an infectious disease known as squirrelpox. The virus that causes squirrelpox is in the same family of viruses that cause chickenpox, cowpox, prairie dog pox, and smallpox. The infection causes painful blistering and scarring of the skin of squirrels, although it is not known to be transmitted to humans. Death in squirrels is usually caused not by the infection itself but rather by starvation and dehydration due to an inability to leave the nest.

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What Are the Different Types of Squirrels? :: pest-control …

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