2013 Envirothon

What are the four species of squirrels?
Gray; red; flying; fox
What helps squirrels balance when jumping?
large tails
What colors do squirrels see?
shades of black and white
What do the squirrel’s eyes detect well?
What senses are keen?
hearing and smell
When are the gray, fox and red squirrels most active?
early morning and late afternoons
When is the flying squirrel most active?
night; they are nocturnal
Describe baby squirrels.
blind; hairless; depend on mother for up to two months
What is mast?
acorns, hickory nuts, walnuts, beechnuts
Gray: weight and length
1 to 1 and a half pounds and 18 to 20 inches in length
How much of the length of the gray squirrel is its tail?
What colors are most gray squirrels?
silvery-gray above and off-white below, often with rusty or brown markings on sides or tail
Describe albinism and melanism in gray squirrels.
Albinism is rare
Melanism (black coloration) is fairly common: once found through most of PA, black squirrels are most in northcentral counties
What colors are black squirrels?
any shade form dark gray to jet black, most with a brownish tinge
What do gray squirrels eat?
mast (acorns, hickory nuts, walnuts and beechnuts)
Besides mast, what do gray squirrels eat?
berries, mushrooms, pine seeds, corn; and dogwood, wild cherry and black gum fruits
How do squirrels help ensure continuous forest growth?
unrecovered nuts sprout into trees
What do gray squirrels eat in:
~early spring?
early spring: buds, a high energy food
April: buds and flowers of red and sugar maples
later: winged fruits of red maple
Where do gray squirrels get water?
ground water sources as well as seeds and buds
What kills young squirrels?
hawks, owls, tree-climbing snakes
Gray squirrels are _____ than fox squirrels.
Gray squirrels are less —– than red squirrels.
What do gray squirrels do to warn others?
bark and assorted “chucks”
What affects squirrel populations?
food supply
What is maximum life span for a wild squirrel?
could be ten years or longer, but most live only two to three years
Describe squirrel nests
leaf nests in trees near good food supplies built in summer and fall; leaf nests are cooler than tree dens; 12 – 16 inches and are made of twigs, leaves, grass, bark
Describe squirrel tree dens
Tree dens are often in cavities where limbs have broken off or deserted woodpecker holes; usually 40-60 feet off the ground; squirrels gnaw off the outer tree bark that would, in time, seal off the den holes