Nuts About Squirrels

How much fun would it be to be a squirrel? To have all those trees to climb and fields to run around with not a care in the world. Living in trees and feeding on anything they can find, wouldn’t we all like life to be this simple.

Most of us have seen these cute bushy tailed rodents in our gardens and parks so how can they be deemed a pest? In Britain there is an estimated 2.5 million squirrels. They will live in woodland, hedgerows and gardens and can also find places to live in our lofts and buildings. Since the grey squirrels have been in Britain, the red squirrel has become endangered and quite rare. This is mainly due to a disease called parapox virus brought to Britain by the grey squirrel.  Grey Squirrels are deemed extremely intelligent and know how to deceive onlookers. In sticky or worrying situations these rodents can remain motionless or will run and hide up trees, however if they are already up a tree they will press themselves against the bark.

 

Most of us know squirrels like to eat nuts and acorns but is this all they eat? Well the answer to that is no, they will eat flowers, buds, tree bark, fruit, seeds and the young of birds. What is the day like for a squirrel? A squirrel is most active at dusk and dawn. They will build their homes out of twigs, making it nice and cosy with dry grass, moss, bark and sometimes feathers. This is called a ‘drey’. They like to leap and jump through trees using their hind legs to do this. Falling from 30ft a squirrel can land safely and can also leap up to 6 metres.  What is the purpose to their big bushy tails? They use these to signal and communicate to each other. Their tails will twitch if they feel suspicious and can help a squirrel to keep its balance. So can we deem them pests or do we think they are living their lives without bothering us. Unfortunately yes they are pests causing much damage inside loft spaces, chewing on  wires and digging holes in our gardens to bury their nuts.  

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