Thursday, July 13, 2017

Squirrels of North America

Squirrels are hoppers like rabbits, but they normally leave two sets of paired tracks, one in front of the other, with prints from the larger hid feet appearing in front of smaller front feet.

Squirrels constitute a family, the Sciuridae, of the order Rodentia, all being descendents of a common ancestor that lived some 30-40 million years ago. They live in grasslands, forests, and deserts.

Most squirrels fall into two main categories – ground squirrels and tree squirrels. Ground squirrels are talented diggers, constructing burrow systems that may be quite elaborate with multiple entrances. They vary in how social they are, with some species living in colonies with much interaction and others leading more solitary lives.
The squirrel family is one of 31 families of rodents and consists of about 250 different species, including chipmunks and marmots. The eastern gray squirrel and the fox squirrel coexist over a large part of the eastern United States, from Florida at Michigan, commonly with the southern flying squirrel and without the North American red squirrel.

Squirrels are classified by their scientific name: sciuridae, a Latin designation originally taken from the Greek worlds meaning ‘shadow tail’. All squirrels share a number of anatomical features – teeth, jaw musculature, skull and other bones – that scientists use to identify recent and fossil squirrels.
Squirrels of North America
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