Mrs. Squirrel has decided to take up residence in our bluebird house. She’s redecorated too. You can see she has had the door enlarged. It must not have been big enough for her to get through. Her family seems to be happy. I can hear the kits crying when I walk up. You can see her paw and claws on the “threshold”. I had my camera on a really high close-up setting. I really didn’t want a squirrel jumping in my face!
Black Eastern Gray Squirrels are common in Goshen, Indiana. The black color is produced when two genes for black are present in a mating pair. The incidence of black squirrels is about 1 in every 10,000 Eastern Gray Squirrels. They are quite cunning little devils and I had some difficultly photographing them feasting at the Courthouse.
Squirrels are one of my favorite animals to observe. I get to enjoy their antics as they make daily raids on my bird feeder. I am visited by two types of squirrels; the Eastern Gray squirrel, and the Red squirrel. This is a photo of the Eastern Gray squirrel. The tan and gray markings are the most typical of the species however, gray squirrels can also be all black or mostly gray without the tan highlights.
Squirrels are quite adept at using their paws and are very handy problem solvers. Squirrels dig holes and bury nuts in caches. They will return later and use their keen sense of smell to locate and retrieve their buried treasures for lunch. Squirrels are mostly herbivores and love corn, seeds, fungi, fruit, and nuts. Natural enemies of squirrels include hawks and owls. I once observed a hawk swoop out of they sky and grab a “squirrel lunch”.
One little known fact about squirrels is that their ankle joints bend backwards (as compared to the human ankle joint). This allows squirrels to hang upside down on the side of a tree easily.
Squirrels use their big bushy tails to balance just like a tight rope walker uses a long pole as a counter balance. Tails also help regulate body temperature. In the summer blood flow through the tail helps the squirrel lose body heat and keep him cool. In the winter the tail is wrapped around like a blanket and keeps the squirrel warm.
During a recent walk in the woods I found a very large gray squirrel nest. They are easily spotted from a distance but very hard to spot from directly below.
Squirrels have sharp teeth and will bite. You should not attempt to pet or hand feed squirrels.