Many types of squirrels are present worldwide that vary in color and size and have distinguishing characteristics.
Why Are Squirrels Called Squirrels? Squirrels are called squirrels because their name is derived from the Greek word ‘Skiouros,’ a combination of two words, skia and oura, which mean shadow and tail. So, they are known for their bushy tails providing shadow during summers and winters for protection against hot sun rays and snowfall.
It can be difficult for some native American people to pronounce the name of squirrels as it is not an English word and is derived from the Greek language.
How do squirrels get their name?
Squirrels are furry animals having slender bodies and furred feet in addition to bushy tails. These have five toes, fleshy pads, and flexible ankles that help them land safely.
The name squirrels have been derived from two Greek words with difficult pronunciation. You can find difficulty in pronouncing the word skiouros which means squirrels.
In addition, this word is derived from ‘skia’ and ‘oura,’ which means shadow and tail.
Accordingly, skiouros means the shady tails collectively, assigned to a group of animals with tails providing shadow.
Moreover, their tails provide shade to their bodies during summer when there is hot temperature and blazing sun rays that can be harsh for their bodies.
In the same way, the long furry tails with small hair can also help them survive in winters when snowfall is everywhere.
It provides warmth when they cover bodies with their tail and avoid direct contact with the snow.
Probably, you have seen them sitting straight with an erect position back and raising their tails against the back.
These long bushy tails can quickly reach over the head and provide enough protection from hot sun rays and snow responsible for reducing the temperature.
What are male and female squirrels called?
The squirrels belong to a family, Sciuridae, but they contain multiple species with one scientific name and many common names according to the geographical regions.
They are also named separately based on their gender as male squirrels are commonly known as boars that like to live alone and do not take any responsibility for protecting fertilized eggs.
In addition, female ones are known as sows and are slightly different from boars having a few differences in physical and behavioral characteristics.
It is easy to distinguish sows from boars because the latter one leaves the nest quickly after mating. They do not mate for life and search for another female to mate with next time.
Furthermore, it can probably be a sow when you see a squirrel sitting inside the nest close to the eggs.
What do you call baby squirrels?
You can consider a squirrel as a baby until it becomes 8 to 9 months old because it turns into an adult after this time duration.
Moreover, the babies of these furry animals are also known as a kit when you are talking about one baby, and the term ‘kittens’ is used for multiple babies.
In addition, the litter means the presence of multiple babies within the mother that contains 2 to 4 babies on average.
One of the most interesting facts about kittens is that they are blind at the time of birth and their eyes remain closed until they get 1 to 1.5 months old.
Furthermore, they cannot see the world and depend on their mothers for food or protection and even cry for her when she is not around them.
How many types of squirrels are present?
Almost 210 species of squirrels are present, classified into a few categories like flying, tree, and ground squirrels, depending on their location.
You can find more than 60 types of these animals within the US, and some common types are fox, flying, ground, grey, and red squirrels, depending on their appearance and location.
These are the largest species of these furry animals that are mainly found in North America and are native to Mexico and Canada.
They have a rusty brown or reddish appearance with an orangish belly and contain longer tails. It weighs almost 2 to 3 pounds and likes to eat fungi, nuts, fruits, and even bird eggs.
Most commonly, they build nests in forested areas as it is a tree animal that loves to live within arboreal trees and attack agricultural crops.
The Eastern and western grey squirrels are known that are commonly present in the North American region and also found in Ohio, but the western is only restricted to Pacific Northwest.
Moreover, these omnivorous animals feed on small insects and eggs but prefer to eat berries and nuts.
A combination of black and white fur is present on their bodies that give a greyish appearance, and the bushy tails have strips of silver hairs.
Additionally, these western animals are larger than the eastern ones, have longer tails, and prefer to live in oak and pine trees. Their fur appears steely grey and weighs almost 1 to 2 pounds.
These type of animals mainly belong to a particular species that like to live on the ground close to humans and have a longer lifespan of 3 to 4 years.
Moreover, the California, Arctic, Antelope, and thirteen-lined ground squirrels are widely known that are present in Alaska, California, Washington, Arizona, and a few other regions of the US.
Some prefer to live in open areas like parks or grasslands, where they can target leaves, birds, and grasses for food. In addition, they like to feed on flowers, seeds, and insects.
American red squirrel
They are present in the mountainous regions of the US and Canada and prefer to live in coniferous forests. They like to consume nuts, fruits, and seeds like many other furry animals.
In addition, they have territorial behavior and do not tolerate the entrance of foreign species into their territory. They are smaller in size and weigh only 0.3 to 0.5 pounds.
They have whitish bellies, red-colored fur on their bodies, and a white ring is present close to their eyes. In addition, you can find distinctive tufts of hair around their ears that are present in only a few species.
They are of two types, including Northern and Southern, based on their geographical distribution and are present in the eastern and northern regions of the US.
Moreover, they are known for gliding capabilities due to the distinctive skin flap within their limbs that helps them stretch out their bodies.
They can jump from a height of almost 150 to 200 feet and glide in the air to reach the ground. They are equal in size to chipmunks with larger eyes and flattened tails.