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Gray Squirrel image
Gray Squirrel

Gray Squirrel

(Mammal)

Gray Squirrel Baby
Gray Squirrel Baby

Gray Squirrel Habits

Although the gray squirrel is found in parks and yards, woodlands are its preferred habitat. It builds its den in tree branches, inside a hollow trunk, or in an empty birds nest. It usually lines the nest with moss, thistledown, dried grass, and feathers and builds a cover. A gray squirrel will build several nests or dens and use them all. When a female has young, the nest is theirs alone, but winter nests are often shared to generate warmth.
The gray squirrel is one of the easiest animals to observe. It is found in parks and woods amoung both coniferous and deciduous trees, which provide a plentiful source of food. A squirrel's den can be found in a hollow tree or built between sturdy branches. Winter and breeding nests are usually larger then the summer nests and they are built of studier material. If you find an abandoned baby squirrel, it is best to leave it alone, since it must be fed every two to four hours for several weeks. Gray squirrels do not make good pets and may carry rabies.

Gray Squirrel Communication

Communication among gray squirrels involves both vocalizations and posturing. The species has a varied repertoire of vocalizations, including a squeak similar to that of a mouse, a low-pitched noise, a chatter, and a raspy "mehr mehr mehr". Other methods of communication include tail-flicking. Communications are mainly used in mating season and to ward off predators.
The use of vocal and visual communication has been shown to vary by location, based on elements such as noise pollution and the amount of open space. For instance, populations living in large cities generally rely more on the visual signals, due to the generally louder environment with more areas without much visual restriction. However, in heavily wooded areas, vocal signals are used more often due to the presence of less noise and a dense canopy restricting visual range.

Gray Squirrel Breeding

Female squirrels can mate only twice a year, but males can mate at any time. Often, severalmales will attempt to mate with the same female. They try to attract her attention by slapping the bark of trees with their paws and chattering loudly. After the mating the males play no part in the rearing of the young.
Birth occurs six weeks after mating. The naked, blind young are fed every two to four hours for several weeks. At seven weeks, they follow their mother out on the tree branches and before long have learned to climb. The young squirrels gradually begin to eat solid food and are weaned at 10 weeks of age. A month later, they leave the den. If there are not too many squirrels in the area, the young will build the dens nearby. Otherwise, they will be chased away to less crowded feeding area.

Gray Squirrel Food & Feeding

The Gray Squirrel every day even in the winter. It does not hibornate and is unable to conserve enough energy to survive for long periods without food. It is most active at dawn and dusk, when it searchesfor whatever fruit, shoots, and seeds are in season. Small thumbs on it's front paws allow it to hold securely as it feeds. The squirrel's diet varies according to season. It eats manly tree bark and fungi in the winter and buds in the summer. In September it eats nuts and accorns. A hungry gray squirrel will also raid a bird's nest for eggs, steal food from bird feeders and dig up plants. The squirrel buries extra food just below the soils surface, which it later locates by smell.

Gray Squirrel Key Facts

        Size 
              Height: Body length: 9-12 in. Tail length: 7-10 in.
              Weight: 12-28 oz
       Breeding
             Sexual maturity: 11 months
             Mating: Females may have 2 litters a year, 1 in March or April and the other in June or July
             Gestation: About 44 days
             Number of young: Usually 3, but up to 9
       Lifestyle 
            Habit: Tree-dwelling, but spends much of it's time on the ground
            Diet: Mainly tree seeds
            Lifespan: 3-4 years

 

DID YOU KNOW?

  • The squirrel's front teeth continue to grow throughout it's life, so they can never be worn away by the animal's continual gnawing.
  • A male squirrel can smell a female that is ready to mate.
  • The gray squirrel can leap more than 20 feet.
  • Gray squirrels bury their acorns all over the place, often forgetting where they put them, causing the seeds to become oak trees.
  • Gray squirrels can run as fast as 20 mph (32 kph).

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