The Difference in Squirrel Species

Squirrels are fascinating creatures that captivate our attention with their nimble acrobatics and bushy tails. The difference in squirrel species can be seen across various ecosystems around the world. Squirrels come in a diverse range of species, each exhibiting unique characteristics and adaptations.

Red Squirrels

Red squirrels are a common squirrel in Minnesota, also known as Pine squirrels. Red squirrels are known for their vibrant reddish-brown fur, tufted ears, and bushy tails. These energetic creatures are agile climbers and spend most of their lives in trees. They are highly territorial and often defend their territory from other squirrels. Red squirrels are known for their fondness for coniferous forests and are adept at extracting seeds from pine cones.

Red squirrels are most prominent in the northern United States and parts of Canada, down into the Appalachian Mountains. They are also found in the Rocky Mountains down to New Mexico and Arizona.

Gray Squirrels

Gray squirrels are perhaps the most widely recognized squirrel species in North America. Originally native to the eastern United States, they have successfully expanded their range to different parts of North America, as well as other countries. The gray squirrel is one of the most common squirrel species in Minnesota. 

These squirrels have a grayish coat, with variations including black or reddish fur in some individuals. Gray squirrels are adaptable and can thrive in both urban and rural environments. They are notorious for their ability to raid bird feeders, and their population explosion has had adverse effects on native red squirrel populations in some areas.

Eastern Chipmunks

Eastern chipmunks are smaller squirrels known for their distinct stripes that run down their backs. They are mainly found in deciduous forests of eastern North America. Chipmunks are ground-dwelling and create intricate burrow systems for shelter and food storage. They have cheek pouches that allow them to carry and store food such as nuts, seeds, and berries. Chipmunks are active during the day, foraging for food and marking their territories with scent glands.

Flying Squirrels

Despite their fun name, flying squirrels cannot fly, but they do glide! These nocturnal creatures have a patagium, a stretchy membrane between their forelimbs and hind limbs that allows them to glide from tree to tree. Flying squirrels have large eyes adapted for low-light conditions and a flat tail that acts as a rudder during flight. Found in different parts of the world, from North America to Asia, these squirrels are highly elusive and often go unnoticed by humans.

Fox Squirrels

Fox squirrels are larger than their common grey squirrel counterparts and are known for their striking reddish-brown fur and ultra-bushy tails. They are so large, in fact, that Minnesota residents say they look like a cat in a tree. fox squirrels are highly adaptable and can be found in various habitats, including forests, parks, and urban areas. Their agile acrobatics and nimble climbing abilities make them impressive and entertaining to watch as they effortlessly navigate trees and leap between branches.

Fox squirrels are also known for their resourcefulness, as they store nuts and seeds in numerous hidden caches to sustain themselves during harsher seasons. They are playful in nature and have a curious demeanor.

The difference in squirrel species is a testament to the incredible biodiversity found in nature. From the energetic red squirrels to the cunning gray squirrels, each species brings its own charm and significance to the ecosystems they inhabit.

While squirrels are necessary in our ecosystem, they can wreak havoc on your yard. Looking to get rid of squirrels? Contact the team at Wildlife Management Services today. 

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