Things About Squirrels:
Flying squirrels don't fly, they glide. They use a tucked in skin membrane between their front and hind legs. The giant flying squirrel can glide 1,500 ft. Flying squirrels are nocturnal. Most squirrels are diurnal which means they are active during the day. In North America, Europe, and Asia they are members of the squirrel family. They include 35 species. Squirrels can range in size from the pygmy squirrels which are 5 inches including its tail to the giant squirrel which can be over 36 inches! That's bigger than the average porcupine! Gray squirrels breed in the middle of the winter and in late spring. Most squirrels have 2 small litters a year. Ground squirrels have one litter per year and usually have 9 babies. Eastern gray squirrels are probably the longest living squirrels; in the wild they can live for twelve years. There was one that lived in the San Diego Zoo for twenty three years. Antelope ground squirrels live up to four years, the European marmot lives for 15 years, and the red tailed chipmunk 5 to 8 years.
There are more than two hundred fifty kinds of squirrels. The following list shows how many types there are in some of the squirrel groups.There are twenty-eight types of tree squirrels, two types of red squirrels, thirty seven types of ground squirrels, eleven types of marmots, twenty-two types of chipmunks, five giant flying squirrels, two old world flying squirrels, and two new world flying squirrels.
Ground squirrels are similar to tree squirrels. They usually live in open or bushy regions, with some types living in the tundra or desert. Squirrels often nest in trees or hollows. The ones living farther north hibernate and in hot, dry areas they might estivate.
Prairie dogs live in very large groups. In fact they are the squirrels that have the largest groups. Their tunnels can go on for dozens of acres.
- Some squirrels have three colors on them. They are called tricolors. They can be white, cinnamon pink, chestnut, black, and a lot of other shades.
- The giant squirrel can leap 16 feet. That is not a record but for something that size it is pretty far. They are only three inches shorter than a porcupine and weigh 34 pounds less!
- In warm areas squirrels are active all year but the ones that live in colder places stop being active for certain times of the year.
- Woodchucks, otherwise known as the ground hog, might be active for the entire year if it is warm enough. If it is not warm enough then it might hibernate for a few months at a time.
Predators and Feeding Habits:
Squirrels' enemies are wild and domestic cats, dogs and foxes, birds of prey, martens, snakes, humans, and stoats and weasels. They eat insects, catkins, tree buds, bark, nuts, pine and spruce cones, fungi, berries and fruit, birds and nestling, and even their own young.
Chinchilla Facts (chinchillas are a different kind of squirrel):
Where They Live:
Chinchillas live naturally only in these four South American countries: Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina. They live in the high mountain range called the Andes. They are bred domestically almost everywhere in the world.
If a baby chinchilla's mother is healthy when it gives birth, its babies will be healthy, strong, open eyed, very furry, and very, very active just after being born. There are 1- 4 babies in a litter and the mothers are pregnant for about 4 months. Babies weigh about an ounce and a half at birth. In the wild another reason the babies would want a healthy mother is they will be able to grow and develop very fast. When they are around 6 weeks old they weigh about 6 ounces. When they are around 6-8 weeks old they will start eating solid food. If they continue nursing it's mostly from habit.
Size, Weight, And Life Span:
Adult chinchillas are 9-15 inches with a 3- 6 inch tail. It weighs 18 to 28 ounces. It lives about 10 to 15 years.
Their fur is very soft and dense. It is about two inches thick. For this reason, a lot of places around the world breed them just for their fur. The fur can be bluish gray to brownish gray. Sometimes the fur is topped with a black tip.
They eat bark, grasses, and herbs. They come out of hiding places in the rocks to eat in the morning and in the evening. They eat by sitting on their hind legs and hold the food in their front paws and dig in. Chinchillas don't drink a lot of water because they get a lot of the moisture they need from the things they eat.
The red areas show where wild squirrels live.