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The Squirrel

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The Squirrel

Post by Guest on Fri Aug 31, 2012 12:35 pm

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Squirrel
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Adult

Baby

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General Information;

Type: Mammal
Diet: Omnivore
Size: 5 to 36 in (13 to 91 cm)
Weight: 0.5 oz to 4 lbs (14 g to 2 kg)
Conservation status: Not applicable
Scientific Classification: Kingdom: Animalia, Phylum: Chordata, Class: Mammalia, Order: Rodentia, Suborder: Sciuromorpha, Family: Sciuridae
Size relative to a tea cup:

# Squirrel Range


Squirrels belong to a large family of small or medium-sized rodents called the Sciuridae. The family includes tree squirrels, ground squirrels, chipmunks, marmots (including woodchucks), flying squirrels, and prairie dogs. Squirrels are indigenous to the Americas, Eurasia, and Africa, and have been introduced to Australia. The earliest known squirrels date from the Eocene and are most closely related to the mountain beaver and to the dormouse among living species. Squirrels are familiar to almost everyone. More than 200 squirrel species live all over the world, with the notable exception of Australia.
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Physical Features;
Squirrels are generally small animals, ranging in size from the African pygmy squirrel at 7–10 cm (2.8–3.9 in) in length and just 10 g (0.35 oz) in weight, to the Alpine marmot which is 53–73 cm (21–29 in) long and weighs from 5 to 8 kg (11 to 18 lb). Squirrels typically have slender bodies with bushy tails and large eyes. Their fur is generally soft and silky, although much thicker in some species than others. The color of squirrels is highly variable between—and often even within—species. The hind limbs are generally longer than the fore limbs, and they have four or five toes on each foot. Their paws on their fore feet include a thumb, although this is often poorly developed. The feet also have soft pads on the undersides. As their large eyes indicate, squirrels generally have an excellent sense of vision, which is especially important for tree-dwelling species. They also have very versatile and sturdy claws for grasping and climbing. Many also have a good sense of touch, with vibrissae on their heads and limbs.
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Mental Features;
Squirrels breed once or twice a year and give birth to a varying number of young after three to six weeks, depending on species. The young are born naked, toothless, and blind. In most species of squirrel, only the female looks after the young, which are weaned at around six to ten weeks of age and become sexually mature at the end of their first year. Ground-dwelling species are generally social animals, often living in well-developed colonies, but the tree-dwelling species are more solitary. Ground and tree squirrels are typically diurnal or crepuscular, while flying squirrels tend to be nocturnal—except for lactating flying squirrels and their offspring, which have a period of diurnality during the summer. Other species are ground squirrels that live in burrow or tunnel systems, where some hibernate during the winter season.
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Diet;
Squirrels cannot digest cellulose, so must rely on foods rich in protein, carbohydrates, and fats. In temperate regions, early spring is the hardest time of year for squirrels, because buried nuts begin to sprout and are no longer available for the squirrel to eat, and new food sources have not become available yet. During these times, squirrels rely heavily on the buds of trees. Squirrels' diets consist primarily of a wide variety of plants, including nuts, seeds, conifer cones, fruits, fungi and green vegetation. However, some squirrels also consume meat, especially when faced with hunger. Squirrels have been known to eat insects, eggs, small birds, young snakes and smaller rodents. Indeed, some tropical species have shifted almost entirely to a diet of insects.
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Threats towards this animal;
The threats towards this animal excluding wolves are:

Hawks, opossums, wildcats, coyotes, foxes, snakes, owls, eagles, and weasels.
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Credits (c);

Images:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dominicspics/5636044908/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/noricum/121490747/

Information:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Squirrel
http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/squirrel/?source=A-to-Z
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