It is fun to watch a squirrel playing around trees or scampering for nuts. However, when this creature starts stripping the bark off trees, digging up vegetation and living in bird feeders around the garden, it can be a nuisance to homeowners. Squirrels also gnaw on electric wires, which can cause power outages. This article presents a compilation of interesting facts about squirrels, to understand their habits and unique characteristics a little better and to help you plan your squirrel repellent strategy.
1. Diversity among the Species
There are more than 275 species of squirrels in existence, and they found all over the world, except Antarctica. This rodent family shows great diversity, right from the ground squirrels, tree squirrels and flying squirrels, to the chipmunks, woodchucks and prairie dogs. Their size can vary from 7 to 73 centimeters (3 to 29 inches) in body length. In North American the species most often found in gardens and flowerbeds is the Gray Squirrel; despite the name, its fur may be gray, brown or red. The white squirrel is a very rare species, only spotted in Thailand and South East Asia.
2. Prominent Features
A squirrel’s large, beady eyes are positioned on either side of its head, enabling it to see it environs clearly without having to turn its head from side to side. However, It has limited visibility directly in front. Squirrels are partially color-blind; they can clearly see blue and yellow, but cannot differentiate between red and green. Their prominent incisors keep growing throughout their lifetime, unlike humans. Squirrels chew on branches, rocks and even electric wires to sharpen their teeth.
3. Food Habits
Squirrels have a healthy appetite, and generally eat food equal to their body weight within a week. When storing the food they have collected in preparation for the cold winter months, they lick the food items or rub them on their face. This leaves a distinctive scent that helps the squirrel to locate its hidden food once winter is over.
4. Acrobatic Abilities
It is possible for a squirrel to survive a fall from as high as 100 feet because of its padded feet. This creature also uses its tail as a parachute and for balance while landing. In fact, this large, bushy tail has given the creature its name; the word squirrel originates from the ancient Greek word skiouros, meaning shadow tail. The short front legs and long, muscular hind legs of a squirrel allow it to jump a distance of 20 feet. It can also run at a speed of 20 mph.
5. Interesting Characteristics of Individual Species
Arctic squirrel: The Arctic squirrel is the only warm-blooded mammal that can survive below-freezing temperatures.
Chipmunks: Chipmunks use the pouches in their cheeks to temporarily store food until they can place it in their burrow.
Flying Squirrel: The flying squirrel glides between trees in a forest, rather than actually flying. This is possible because of the membrane attached to the skin around its ankles and wrists.
Shake-Away Rodent Repellent
It is easy to keep squirrels away from gardens and yards, by using a repellent that takes into account the squirrel’s keen sense of smell. The Shake-Away rodent repellent is one such product. It is available in the form of granules containing all-natural oils. The oils’ vapors agitate the squirrel’s sensitive nervous system, which causes this creature to flee the garden or yard. Homeowners need to sprinkle these granules specifically around the areas they want to protect from squirrel attacks, and they will not be troubled by these rodents for a long time.