Friday, April 17, 2009

Squirrely Facts

I found some interesting squirrel facts here, and thought I would share them with comments.

Squirrely Facts

  • Squirrels are not able to digest cellulose (cell walls in plants) so their diet consists mainly of proteins and carbohydrates including nuts, seeds, fruits, insects, eggs, and even small mammals like birds and frogs.
But sophisticated squirrels prefer Italian, Greek, and Oriental cuisine. And would be glad to co-host Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives with Guy Fieri! (Or just go along to help eat...)
  • According to the CDC, squirrels, as well as other small rodents such as rats, mice, chipmunks, and rabbits almost never have rabies and have not been known to transmit the virus to humans in the United States.
So no more cuts about "dirty animals!" You hearin' me? (And rabbits are not rodents! They're Lagomorphs!)
  • Squirrels are able to climb down trees because of special joints they have in their ankle that allows their foot to rotate a full 180 degrees. The sharp, curved claws on each of their toes act as spikes that anchor into the tree bark during their descent.
But the claws make it really, really, hard to find good-fitting footwear...
  • California ground squirrels chew the molted skin of rattlesnakes and then lick themselves in order to escape their predator. This is a unique behavior since most vertebrates use visual forms of camouflage. The mothers and fathers are immune to snake venom but the squirrel pups are not.
Well, I don't know about my ground-dwelling cousins, but I guess snakes would be an issue. Nice that God equipped them with immunity!
  • Using another form of protection against rattlesnakes, squirrels are able to heat up their tails with increased blood flow. Since rattlesnakes have infrared perception in order to sense their prey at night, the snakes are put on the defensive and less likely to attack a squirrel and her pups.
Hi-tech stealth squirrels! Ha, take that, Skunk Works!
  • Male White-tailed Antelope Squirrels spar with each other in order to establish a hierarchy in preparation for breeding. They are also the only genus of squirrels that are ground nesters. They get their name from their white underside that matches the patch of fur on the backside of an antelope.
Here's a picture of an Antelope "Squirrel" -- Looks like a chipmunk on Mars, to me. Is that the Viking probe in the background?

  • Female red Squirrels living on the Isle Royale, 20 miles off of Thunder Bay, Ontario, mate for only two days out of the year with multiple partners. Afterwards the females separate from the males and will raise the young by herself. These squirrels are also able to predict mast years (years yielding large quantities of nuts) and produce a second litter.
Understand, these are pagan squirrels. Good, Biblical, squirrels would never approve of such behavior!
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The Squirrel said...

I hope you've learned a little more about squirrels. It's good to learn. Even I, your host, did not know that rabbits were lagomorphs until about a week ago.


Joshua Cookingham said...

I love squirrels, always have. I find these facts fascinating.....

Mostly, I love Squirrels in literature. Both the Redwall Series and the Mistmantle Chonicles have squirrels as swashbuckling heroes(quite a bit of biblical allegory pagan squirrel

God bless.

Mrs. Squirrel said...

Don't forget Pattertwig from Narnia. He's not quite the swashbuckling hero like Reepicheep, but he's definitely got enthusiasm!

Joshua Cookingham said...

Ah he would say...

"OH! We could gather Nuts!"

Reepicheep- "And throw them at the Telemarines! SHUT UP!"


Herding Grasshoppers said...

We have squirrels in our yard every day... the neighbor (retired) feeds them peanuts.

One built a nest - a drey - right outside my office window.

Fun to watch.

The blue jays (okay, stellar jays) like to watch them too. They watch them get peanuts from the squirrel feeder, watch them bury the nuts, and then when the squirrels run off to get another nut, the jays dig them up and eat them.

Aaron said...

My father in law apparently loves SQuirrels too. At least during hunting season.

Joshua Cookingham said...

My dad was born into a poor family....a couple of times they were forced to eat squirrels.....

I forgive

Rabbit said...

Thank you ever so much, dear Squirrel, for pointing out our separate branches on the tree of life. While we lagomorphs do raise the bar in the long-ear and kickin'-hind-foot departments, y'all's tails ROCK. Puts my little white tuft to shame.

I personally think a little squirrely sidekick would be a great addition to Triple-D. Have you given Guy a call?

Sir Aaron said...

How did the Squirrel choose his name anyways?

Sir Aaron said...

P.S. I'm working on updating my profile, facebook, etc. I use to post as "Aaron" but since others have posted as the same name I'm consolidating all my accounts to Sir Aaron.

The Squirrel said...

Sir Aaron:

It's related to this post at DJP's blog.


The Squirrel said...

And, Aaron, I see that you commented in that discussion thread at DJP's blog! Oh, how soon they forget :)

Sir Aaron said...

I guess so. I Didn't put it together until now.