Friend or foe, squirrels are very interesting creatures!  Here are some fun facts you may not know about our little backyard buddies!

Did you know  there are over  365 species of squirrels in the world?

There are tree squirrels, ground squirrels and flying squirrels!

Squirrels are in the rodent family which makes up 40% of all mammals.

Gray squirrels can have different shades of fur.  Some are even black or pure white.

Red squirrels can sometimes have a completely black coat.

Squirrels eat nuts, seeds and fruit.  And they’ll also eat corn and sometimes bugs. They need about a pound of food per week.

Tree squirrels don’t hibernate, but during storms and really cold weather, they’ll stay in their nest for days–sometimes sharing it with other squirrels for warmth.

Squirrels communicate with a series of chirps, expressing alarm or locating family members.  They twitch their tails for emphasis!

The smallest squirrel is the African Pygmy. They are 5 inches long from their heads to the tip of their tails. They are found in Nigeria, Cameroon and Gabon.

The largest squirrel is the Ratufa. It can be as long as 3 feet in length. This beauty is found in Asia and Nepal.

 Squirrels have been known to live as long as 20 years in captivity. Our Common Gray squirrel lives an average of 5 years in the wild, if they are lucky enough to survive their first year.

 The squirrel has a brain about the size of a walnut.

 Squirrels can run as fast as 20 miles per hour.

 The oldest known squirrel skeleton is over 50 million years old.

 Lafayette Park in Washington, DC has the largest concentration of squirrels in the United States.

 President Ronald Reagan loved the squirrels at the White House so much that he commissioned an artist to paint a squirrel running across the White House lawn for the Presidential Christmas Card.

If a squirrel’s nest is high in a tree, it is called a drey. A squirrel’s nest in a hollow tree is called a den.

Squirrel teeth grow at the rate of six inches per year!  However, their teeth stay short from constant wear as they nibble and gnaw on everything!

Squirrels keep their teeth clean and sharp by chewing on twigs.

From Duncraft’s Wild Bird Blog