Grey Squirrel Notecard

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Grey Squirrel

The grey squirrel is a prolific and adaptable tree squirrel native to the eastern and Midwestern US and southern portions of Canada. They generally construct their dens upon large tree branches as well as the hollow trunks of trees. They prefer oak-hickory forests as they enjoy acorns and a wide variety of other nuts.  Grey squirrels have a high tolerance for humans and easily inhabit residential neighborhoods as well.
     The grey squirrel is a scatter-hoarder; it hoards food in numerous small caches. Some caches are quite temporary, especially when taking advantage of a site with a sudden abundance of food which can be retrieved within hours or days for reburial in a more secure site.  Other caches are more permanent and are not retrieved until months later. Each squirrel is estimated to make thousands of caches each season; they have an extremely accurate spatial memory for the locations of these hidden food stores.  The activity of caching seeds and nuts may help to disperse tree seeds and provides an important service in the ecosystem.      Grey Squirrels may even help spread such things as truffle fungal spores by eating truffles.
     Unlike many squirrels, the grey squirrel does not hibernate during winter months but remains active all year.  These squirrels communicate with each other using a large variety of vocalizations and postures, such as tail flicking.  Although they tend to be shy, their bashfulness tends to disappear when they are fed!
 
artwork by Susan Bull Riley © 2012
text by Steve Sierigk
Tags: animals, winter,