Squirrels by Steven Otfinoski

By Steven Otfinoski

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By Steven Otfinoski

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Squirrels have a keen intelligence. We admire the way they gather nuts and are fascinated by how they store them away for the winter. But squirrels, especially tree squirrels, can be real nuisances. They get into bird feeders and eat birdseed. They dig up and eat flower bulbs in gardens. They gnaw their way into homes and set up house in attics and basements. They devour farm crops such as corn, wheat, oats, and barley. They eat their way through insulated utility wires and cause power outages.

Endangered—Threatened with possible extinction. extinct—No longer in existence. gnawing—Chewing on something with teeth. habitat—The place where an animal lives, including the living and nonliving things in the environment. 41 hibernates—Goes into a deep sleep for the winter; something certain animals do to survive the cold and the scarcity of food. immunity—A condition that makes an animal or human resistant to a disease. litter—A group of young animals born at the same time to a female. mammal—A warm-blooded animal that has hair or fur and nurses its young with its own milk.

If attacked by a rattlesnake, a tree squirrel can use its tail in a unique way to save itself. It can actually raise the Eagles are one of the greatest enemies of squirrels. They can swoop down from the sky and grab a squirrel off the ground. 29 temperature of its tail, which helps when rattlesnakes are after them. Rattlesnakes determine their prey by body heat. When the tail heats up, it may confuse the snake or make it think the squirrel is another, larger kind of animal. For whatever reason, the rattler One way squirrels can defend themselves is by fighting with their long, sharp claws.

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