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Squirrels {InstaScience}

November 20, 2015 2 min read

We live in a neighborhood with lots of oak and walnut trees. In addition to all the wonderful shade in the summer, we also have a lot squirrels who visit!

We live in a neighborhood with lots of oak and walnut trees. In addition to all the wonderful shade, we also have a lot of wildlife visiting our backyard to feed on the acorns and nuts these trees produce. One of those visitors is the bright-eyed, bushy-tailed squirrel!

Did you know that there are over 260 different species of squirrels around the world? And that are two main groups of squirrels? There are ones that live in the trees, like the grey squirrel, and ones that live on the ground, like the chipmunk.

Ground squirrels live in burrows that have been dug out of the ground, often under rocks or logs.  Tree squirrels build nests, or dreys, out of twigs and leaves in the forks of tall trees or inside a hollow tree trunk. Both of these types of mammals prefer to live in woodland or grassland habitats.

All squirrels love to eat nuts, seeds, fruits, roots, buds, and insects! During the fall they store up loads of acorns and nuts to last through the winter. Even though they steal quite a bit from the surrounding trees, squirrels also help out. Sometimes they forget where they have buried their edible treasure, which means the seeds are able to sprout and grow into a tree the following spring!

Fun Fact – Squirrels use their tails as a signalling device, so that tail-twitching you see is probably a sign of the creature alerting other squirrels of potential danger!

 

TEACHING SCIENCE AT HOME

Want to learn more about squirrels? Check out the following articles:

RELATED HOMESCHOOL SCIENCE ACTIVITIES

Keep the learning going with these science activities!

  • Squirrel Watching – Set out a piece of dry corn, peanuts, or sunflower seeds in your backyard. Then, watch and wait. It may take a bit of time, but the squirrels will eventually come visit and you can observe their behavior.
  • Signs of Squirrels  Head outside to look for signs for squirrels, such as broken up acorns and large nests made out of leaves in the trees. Then, listen to see if you hear any squirrel chatter.

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