Out Wit Squirrels

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Outwit Squirrels
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What Other Experts Say
Squirrels: The Animal Answer Guide by Richard W. Thorington Jr.
The Biology of Ground-Dwelling Squirrels: Annual Cycles, Behavioral Ecology, and Sociality by Jan O. Murie

Squirrel Habitat

Ground Squirrel Range

Squirrel Habitat in the US and Canada is in mainly in forested regions, however, the animals live in a variety of habitats worldwide ranging from tropical rain forests to the arctic tundra of Alaska.

Squirrel Habitat-Range

Squirrels exist on all but one (1) continent on earth, Australia. The table below illustrates the squirrels most common to North America and their specific squirrel habitat range.

SCIENTIFIC NAME

COMMON NAME

RANGE

Sciurus arizonensis

Arizona Gray Squirrel

Mountains of Arizona, New Mexico and northern Mexico.

Sciurus carolinensis

Eastern Gray Squirrel

Eastern US and Canada to just west of the Mississippi. Introduced in Italy, England, Ireland and Scotland.

Sciurus gresius

Western Gray Squirrel

West coast of US including California, Oregon and Washington. Part of Nevada.

Sciurus niger

Eastern Fox Squirrel

Eastern and Central US and Canada, Northern Mexico.  Introduced to western United States.

Sciurus aberti

Abert’s Squirrel

Southwestern US, portions of Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah.

Tamiasciurus hudsonicus

Red Squirrel

From Alaska throughout Canada south into the US thru the Appalachians and in portions of the US Rocky mountains,

Tamiasciurus douglasii

Douglas Squirrel

Western Coast of North America from Northern California, Oregon, Washington and southwest British Columbia.

Glaucomys sabrinus

Northern Flying Squirrel

North America from Alaska thru Canada south to central Tennessee in the US.

Glaucomys volans

Southern Flying Squirrel

Southeastern Canada, Eastern US, Mexico and Honduras

 Home ranges of the species vary from 200 yards for the Red Squirrel to seven (7) acres for gray squirrels to being dependent on food availability for the Aberts Squirrels of the southwest.

Squirrel Habitat-Nests

Squirrel nests for are used for shelter and raising young. Most habitat nesting sites include hollow trees or stumps. Nests are kept quite homey and lined carefully with shredded bark, leaves and mosses. Nest locations will vary slightly from species to species.

Most Squirrels will occupy two (2) types of homes, a drey and a den. The dreys are less permanent nests used in the summer and winter which are normally located in the crotch of trees 30-45 feet above the ground. Winter dreys are sturdier than the summer dreys, are lower in the trees, and more water resistant. It is not uncommon to find man made materials used in the winter dreys. Dens are inside of tree cavities and crevices and normally used in the winter as a sturdier alternative to a drey. The nests occasionally have a second entrance hole that serves as more of an escape route than an entrance. Nests will house groups of 2- 10 in the winter time.

Flying squirrels have nests that they use during the night and active hours called refugia nests and during the day called diurnal nests. Nests used for raising young are called natal nests. While Northern and Southern flying squirrels use the same types of nests they treat these types of habitat slightly differently. Southern flying squirrels, for example, will use their nests as bathrooms and for food storage while Northern flying squirrels do not employ this type of behavior.

Red squirrels will occasionally nest underground much like the ground squirrels by building multi chambered tunnels under rotting logs; however this type of habitat nesting is rare according to experts.

From the forests of the highest peaks in the Rocky Mountains to the prairies of northern Mexico, the North American continent provides excellent squirrel habitat.

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