Squirrel

Squirrel mama with baby

Height/Weight: Squirrels are generally small animals, ranging in size from the African Pygmy Squirrel at 7–10 cm (2.8–3.9 in) in length and just 10 g (0.35 oz) in weight, to the Alphine Marmot which is 53–73 cm (21–29 in) long and weighs from 5 to 8 kg (11 to 18 lb).
Life Span: About 6 years
Habitat: Squirrels can survive in almost any habitat from tropical rainforests to arid deserts.

Montezuma SquirrelThis bushy-tailed squirrel or red tailed Squirrel is found throughout the South and Central Americas such as Costa Rica, Trinidad, Columbia, Tobago, Panama, Venezuela, and Ecuador regions. The back of the squirrel is reddish brown in color, but some squirrels have a darker tanned skin. The color of the tail of most of the red-tailed squirrels is earth red with some also displaying a black-colored tip. The other types of squirrels are less likely to be seen and are usually smaller and live at more elevated altitudes. The most common places where these squirrels can be spotted in abundance by avid wildlife watchers are the cloud forests of Costa Rica. A large population of these mischievous mammals can be spotted in and around the cities of Costa Rica and San Gerardo de Dota. These areas boast of a large number of apple orchards, making them the hotbeds for squirrels.

These squirrels can be spotted enjoying apples in the tropical forests of Costa Rica and in and around the Montezuma region. They make nests at lower levels in tree crowns or in the forest canopies, tree hollows, or bushy grounds. Many of these tree squirrels produce multiple litters each year. Their gestation period varies from 33 days in pine squirrels, the smaller species and up to 60 days for larger squirrel species like the gray squirrel. New born squirrel weighs about an ounce at the time of birth, and are an inch long. They are toothless and hairless at this stage, and are virtually without their eyesight during the first six to eight weeks. However they have a well-developed and keen sense of hearing which guides most of their actions in the early stages.

The red-tailed squirrel is diurnal by nature, and will be most active early in the morning. It will be followed by some rest and then back to their frenzied activity late in the afternoon. The red-tail squirrel is capable on surviving on a number of plants. Though they have a penchant for eating hard seeds, they also eat small fruits, barks of trees, leaves, insects, fungi and flowers. The female squirrels tend to have a far more diverse diet than an adult male. These squirrels actually mate when food is available in abundance. Breeding therefore  generally happens in March and April when the fruits ripen. The red-tailed squirrel is boisterous and unguarded during mating which often attracts predators and leads to their death. The male squirrels will often form groups of 10 or more around a single female and fight for mating rights with her for almost a whole day.

A female squirrel will choose the strongest male during the mating season, but it is highly improbable for her to breed twice with the same partner. The male squirrel will not assist the females in caring for the young ones. Hence, among these squirrels, females are the one who control their territory, where nests are built and young ones are reared by themselves. Their nests carefully bordered with soft leaves and shredded bark to make the babies snug.

Additional Resources

http://www.costaricajourneys.com/squirrel/
http://www.ecointeractivevacations.com/index.php/costa-rica-eco-travel-vacation-information-videos-articles-/222-costa-rica-variegated-squirrel

Video of Squirrels

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