Naturalist’s Corner – Gray Squirrels!

Naturalist’s Corner – Gray Squirrels!

Posted December 4, 2019

Written by Kyla Isakson

Photo of a gray squirrel, modified from Mass.gov.

 

Gray squirrels are among the most common species of squirrel in North America. They are diurnal mammals, meaning they search for food during the day and sleep at night. Gray squirrels live in nests called dreys, which are typically made up of twigs, leaves, grass, and bark.

During the winter months, gray squirrels sleep for long periods, but they do not hibernate. They are less active during the winter, leaving their warm dreys to eat the food they have stored from foraging during the warmer months. Gray squirrels eat fruit, plants, insects, nuts, and seeds, much like many birds; they bury nuts and seeds as a food source during the winter, and any that remain buried have the potential to grow into a new plant. This scattering process aids in distributing seeds around the environment.

Gray squirrels are found in many places where humans live, so the next time you see a squirrel digging in your yard or eating out of your bird feeder, know that they are just trying to make it through the winter and find a tasty snack.

(C) Wareham Land Trust ~ provided by New Bedford Internet