1. The word “squirrel” means shadow tail in Greek.
2. The hind legs of squirrels are double-jointed. This helps them run up and down trees quickly.
3. Mating season is February through May with a 44-day gestation period. Typically 2-4 young are born per litter.
4. Squirrels have 5 toes on their back feet and 4 toes on their front. Their front toes are very sharp and help in gripping tree bark for climbing.
5. Squirrels in general are found on every continent except Antarctica and Australia.
6. Squirrels can eat their own body weight (approximately 1.5 pounds) every week.
7. Squirrels can fall up to 100 feet without hurting themselves. They’ll use their tail both for balance and as a parachute.
8. Squirrels eyes are positioned in such a way that they can see some things behind them.
9. Squirrels can jump a distance of up to 20 feet. They have long, muscular hind legs and short front legs that work together to aid in leaping.
10. A common misconception about squirrels is that they hibernate during the winter. While true that squirrels are rarely seen during extreme cold, this is because they remain near their nest where it is warm.
11. There are about 300 varieties of squirrels around the world. In North America there are ten.
12. Squirrels typically live in trees — in holes in the trunk, or in treetop crow’s nests. The homes in the treetops are called dreys and sometimes consist of two rooms and a nursery!
13. During their first seven weeks they will nurse milk, and then they will eat nuts, acorns, wheat, fruit, bird’s eggs, and mushrooms. Sometimes they will also eat leaves, berries, seeds, oak buds, and corn as well as insects, moths, bird eggs and nestling birds. What they eat depends on the time of year. For example, nuts and acorns are typically eaten during the fall. A squirrel needs about two pounds of food a week. If it can’t find it, it will move.