These animals are picky about the rock collection, and, first, they lick them for their selection. Some people think squirrels use these stones for self-defense when making nests in the trees.
Why Do Squirrels Collect Rocks? Squirrels collect rocks to save winter food stock, sharpen their teeth, build nests, and minerals and salt consumption. In addition, they also use them to mark the food storage location and territories. They pick the rocks from parking lots, gardens, driveways, and rivers.
They use them as the tool to break the shells of the nuts. Moreover, they also throw them on the predator from the trees for their defense. Squirrels that live in wild areas collect the stones from the forest because these are abundantly available there.
Why do squirrels gather rocks?
Squirrels are famous because of their stone-gathering behaviors. They select different types of rocks depending on their size, shape, and composition.
Save winter food stock
They save food in their nest so they can consume them during emergencies. They are well-known because of their food-caching behavior from different sites.
They collect a diversity of foods so they can consume them in winter. The availability of food resources is less in winter because of the natural environmental changes.
The chances of pilfering food caches are common during the winter because of the scarcity of food sources. The food also becomes scarce because of the dense population of squirrels in the respective area.
The other squirrels act as the pilferers and try to steal the food from the nest of the squirrels. These animals use the rocks to confuse the potential pilferers so they cannot take their food items.
These stones also mimic the presence of the food and protect their food.
Sharpen their teeth
Squirrels have sharp trees that keep growing throughout their life, and they have to trim them by gnawing on the hard and fibrous materials. They chew hard materials, including plastic and rocks, to decrease size.
Gnawing and chewing the stones allow them to decrease the size of their teeth so they cannot feel uncomfortable. Gnawing on hard stones is necessary for their dental care and maintenance.
They also sharpen their front teeth by rubbing on the small stones. Therefore, the sharp teeth allow them to chew and bite hard food materials, including plant-based diets and nuts.
Minerals and salts consumption
Rocks naturally also contain minute quantities of minerals and salts. Squirrels lick the rocks in your garden paths and driveways to extract the minerals and salts from them.
They need adequate sodium for their body functioning and electrolyte balance. In addition, they also consume the minerals from these stones, which are necessary for the growth of their body parts.
Stones that are high in calcium enhance the bark-stripping behavior of these animals. Moreover, calcium helps strengthen teeth and bones.
Mark food storage location
Squirrels collect ample food in the summer so they can use it during food scarcity situations.
They bury the nuts and seeds underground to protect them from other animals and environmental hazards.
Sometimes they start digging in the soil to find the buried food because they forget about them. They use the small stones to mark the food storage location so they can find them quickly.
They do not have to waste their energy digging the soil from different areas to find their buried nuts and other food sources. They dig the soil from the specific area and find their food sources.
Some of these species also use plastic and small stones to build their nest in addition to twigs, leaves, and grass.
They use these solid objects to give them proper structure and for insulation of the interior side.
They make territories in the mating season to provide a favorable environment for the female species. These are highly territorial creatures, and they do not allow the other squirrels to come into their territories.
They are defensive about their territories and attack their other species when they come there. They show dominance in their territories to attract the female species.
Some of these animals collect stones to mark their territories. They use the small stones and arrange them in the surrounding of their territories so other species cannot come there.
How do squirrels collect rocks?
Squirrels use different methods and their body parts to collect rocks. They use their front paws that have sharp claws to grasp the objects.
They use their paws to pick up stones that are of suitable size and composition. The sharp claws allow strong grasping power to grip larger things properly.
They hold the stones in their paws and then move to a suitable location. In addition, they also use their mouth to grasp the rocks.
They use the mouth if stones are lighter and are of smaller size. They cannot grasp the larger, heavy rocks in their mouth and grip them with their paws.
What type of squirrels collects rocks?
Rock collection is not the natural behavior of all squirrels. Their few species interact with various types, shapes, and sizes of stones.
Gray squirrels are common because of their stone-collecting behavior. As their name indicates, rock squirrels do not collect the stones because people are confused about them.
They get their names because they live in a rocky environment. Ground squirrels are also famous because they use the stone to close the opening of their burrows to prevent them from predators and harsh weather.
What type of rocks do squirrels prefer to collect?
Squirrels collect stones of different types, sizes, compositions, and structures depending on their use.
The size and shape of the stone depend on its specific use. They prefer to select small pebbles while foraging for food and nuts.
In addition, they collect the gravel rocks in the gardens, driveways, and parking lots. I also see these little creatures in my garden while licking the garden path rocks.
They gather the river stones because water erosion makes their edges smooth, and these are easy to grasp.
Why do squirrels lick rocks?
You can also see squirrels licking the rocks from your gardens. They lick these stones to check their shape and size according to their specific use.
They identify stones’ shape, structure, size, and composition while using them for different purposes. They lick them to identify their specific shape and structure.
In addition, some mineral stones are present in your gardens and driveways. They prefer to lick these mineral stones to take the essential minerals and salts from them.
They consume salts and minerals, including calcium, which are good for their bones, teeth growth, and bark-stripping behavior.
Can squirrels chew on rocks?
Squirrels have sharp teeth and strong jaw muscles and can easily chew harder objects. In addition, they can also chew rocks, wires, plastic, and wooden materials.
These animals have a strong biting force, which allows them to chew the harder material. They chew the rocks to take the nutrients from them.
They use their sharp teeth to break them and modify their shape according to the intended use. Mostly these animals gnaw on hard objects, including bones, to sharpen and reduce their teeth size.
You can also see them gnawing on rocks in your garden and driveways. They chew these stones to make their front teeth sharp and strong.