This was just an amazing picture of a Gray Squirrel that I was able to snap outside my window sitting on a tree branch.
I’ve always enjoyed squirrels. Summer, Winter, Spring and Fall these furry rodents don’t hibernate and are constantly on the move looking for food from dawn until dusk eating as they go but also storing some for later beneath the soil. They later scout it out again with their sense of smell. Winter is the toughest time for squirrels since the weather is harsher and food supply is limited.
Squirrels are members of the rodent family or the family Sciuridae. While the bushy tailed rodent may look cute and cuddly, they are wild animals. Like other rodents squirrels can carry rabies. Although according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) squirrels are almost never found to be infected with rabies and have never been known to cause rabies among humans in the United States. Squirrels may be one of only a few in the rodent who don’t invoke fear in people the way rats do. In fact they remind me Chip and Dale the two chipmunks from the Disney cartoon. As you might have guessed chipmunks are also from the Sciuridae or rodent family. There are many types of squirrels in the United States such as the Western Gray Squirrel, the Red Squirrel and the Eastern Squirrel.
Squirrels subsist on nuts, fruits, and plants; but if hungry enough they will eat pretty much whatever they can find. If you live in a city it is not uncommon to see a squirrel feasting on half of a hamburger that someone has carelessly thrown away.
One can view squirrels in a number of places; parks, our own backyards, and in the woods and forests. One would think that urban squirrels wouldn’t have any predators to be wary of but this is not the case. Dogs are a number one predator of squirrels. Another problem for squirrels is cars; I’ve seen many a squirrel that has been killed trying to cross the road.
Squirrels generally live in the trunk of trees but can also live in nest which is why you sometimes see them gathering materials that they take back to fortify their nest. They have also been known to take up residence in peoples attics.
In Manhattan at Madison Square Park the squirrels will come right up to you for food. They have become quite accustomed to humans feeding them and will take food right from your hand. It is not a good idea to feed wild animals and especially not by hand. We get so caught up in how cute they are that we forget squirrels are wild; feeding them especially by hand could lead to bites and scratches.