Grey Squirrel

Grey Squirrel Tracks (Spruceline Farm, January 2015)

Grey Squirrel Tracks (Spruceline Farm, January 2015)

Squirrel tracks tend to be “splayed”.  The rear feet register in front of the front feet as the squirrel bounds.  A young naturalist described the overall track pattern as being similar to the open wings of a butterfly.  That description resonated with me and I use the comparison for describing squirrel tracks as “butterflies” often.

Squirrel Chews

Squirrel Chew on Black Walnut (Guelph Lake Nature Centre, March 2015)

Squirrel Chew on Black Walnut (Guelph Lake Nature Centre, March 2015)

Which nut was opened by a red squirrel?  Which nut was opened by a grey squirrel?

Walnuts have very hard shells that require much effort to open.  Tiny white marks or indentations along the outside edge of a hole are signs from a small mammal’s lower incisors.  These marks are called “chatter”.  Red squirrels tend to obtain nut meat by opening a walnut from both sides, creating large, jagged holes.  Gray squirrels tend to be able to cut into a walnut from any direction.  The shell of the walnut is left in chunks or pieces.

The left walnut was opened by a gray squirrel and the right walnut was opened by a red squirrel.

Why does it seem that red squirrels are more efficient at getting to the nut meat in comparison to gray squirrels?  Is this related to the size of the squirrel’s incisors?

Grey Squirrel Scat

Grey Squirrel Scat (Bruce Trail, Orangeville, December 2014)

Grey Squirrel Scat (Bruce Trail, Orangeville, December 2014)

 

 

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