Evolution and Distribution
More than 200 species of squirrels exist worldwide. Scientists have categorized them into three groups namely tree squirrels, flying squirrels, and ground squirrels. Their name comes from the Greek word, skiouros, which means shadow-tailed. It is a reference to their bushy tail. The oldest known squirrel fossil dates back to 40 million years ago, during the late Eocene Period. Archaeologists discovered it in Wyoming’s White River Formation. Interestingly, scientific studies suggest that squirrels originated from a common ancestor. In fact, it seems as though North America was the home of this common ancestor. From this point, squirrels spread to other regions of the globe including Africa, Asia, and South America.
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North American Squirrels
Ground squirrels in this part of the world include the spotted ground squirrel, the thirteen-lined ground squirrel, and the California ground squirrel. The smallest ground squirrel in the United States is the white-tailed antelope squirrel. It weighs 3 to 4 ounces only. One common characteristic among ground squirrels is that they excavate burrows in open areas such as prairies. The United States is also home to two flying squirrels, i.e., the northern and the southern flying squirrel. The northern one is larger than its southern counterpart is. Both of them are nocturnal which means finding them is difficult even if they have burrows near your home. Tree squirrels are also common in the US. They include fox squirrels, red squirrels, and gray squirrels.
Breeding in squirrels takes place annually or biannually. The gestation period varies between species. For example, the gestation period is 44 days in the eastern gray squirrel while it is 30 days in the white-tailed antelope squirrel. Generally, the smaller the squirrel, then the shorter its gestation period is. Some squirrels give birth to only two offspring while others can produce as many as fourteen offspring. The newborn squirrels have no fur. They are toothless in addition to being blind. Many of them die during their first year. Some causes of death include falling off trees and low temperatures inside their burrows. Weaning takes ten weeks at most, and most of the squirrels become sexually active soon after their first year.
Squirrels eat nuts, conifer cones, fruits, seeds, and fungi. However, they mostly depend on nuts. That means they have a difficult time finding them during early spring because nuts are sprouting at this time. Scientists have also observed that squirrels resort to eating meat in some instances especially when finding plant food is a challenging experience for them. For example, they can eat insects, small birds, small snakes, small rodents, and eggs. Interestingly, squirrels have front teeth that never stop growing. That means they continuously chew without wearing down their teeth. These creatures have to be wary of predators as well especially when their only defense mechanism is running away from danger. Some of their predators are hawks, owls, coyotes, foxes, weasels, snakes, and wildcats.
Squirrels are highly destructive creatures if they find their way into your home or compound. For example, they can chew on electrical wiring in your home leading to short circuits. They urinate and defecate in attics and other hidden areas leaving bad stains and odors. They can also chew holes into wooden items in your home. Moreover, squirrels attract predators. You might have hawks or owls hovering over your compound as they wait for their opportunity to strike. Snakes may come into your home as well as they hunt for the squirrel that lives there. Another inconvenient consequence of having squirrels in your home is that they can make startling noises at night scaring you and your family members.
Getting rid of squirrels that have invaded your home is an excellent idea. Hire professionals like us who understand squirrels. For example, we know the exact areas of entry for squirrels. We know how to flush them out from such places, and we know how to prevent them from returning to your home. We are professionals in this field with years of uninterrupted experience. We have the necessary tools to complete this task successfully, and we are ready to start as soon as possible. Contact us today for the best services when it comes to the removal of squirrels.