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Squirrel

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Squirrel
A grey squirrel (Sciurus caroliniensis)
Scientific Classification
Subtaxa
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Contents

Introduction

A squirrel is a small, slender rodent found throughout most of the world. Most species dwell in trees, but some dwell on the ground. Most have dull colors such as grey, black or red

Anatomy

An adult squirrel usually weighs between 1 and 11/2 pounds, and grows to a length of about 18 inches. Their tails can constitute up to half their body length, and although the tail appears bushy, it is actually only a thin, hairy appendage. Squirrels use their tails for balance when leaping between tree branches or crawling across power lines.

The teeth of squirrels continually grow, which is why the squirrel has a constant need to chew or gnaw. Most squirrels are dichromatic, which means they can see in color, but in colors comparable to human color blindness. The largest squirrel is the Indian giant squirrel, found in south Asia. It can grow up to three feet in length. The smallest is the African Pygmy, which grows less than three inches in length.

Reproduction

Squirrels typically have two litters of young a year, with between one and four young per litter.

Ecology

The squirrel can be found in most habitats and countries, except Australia and Madagascar, and hostile polar regions. The diet of a squirrel consists of nuts, berries and some other kinds of vegetation.

Evolution and Squirrels

Scientists suppose that squirrels evolved around 50 million years ago. However, this estimate was upset by a recent find in China of a gliding squirrel that dated at around 125 million years old.[1]

Related References

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