The Facts

  • Genus: Ratufa

  • Conservation Status: Least Concern

  • Location: All over the world, with the exception of Australia


The Scoop

Squirrels are familiar to almost everyone, with more than 200 squirrel species living all over the world. Depending on their species, squirrels can range in size from a mere five inches long (African pygmy squirrel), to a staggering three feet long (Indian giant squirrel). Tree squirrels are the most commonly recognized squirrel species, followed by ground squirrels and flying squirrels.

A typical squirrel diet consists of nuts, leaves, roots, seeds and small insects, but squirrels are also known to eat bark, eggs, baby birds and tree sap. Squirrels typically have slender bodies, bushy tails, large eyes and silky fur, with coloring that varies dramatically between species.

Whether they dwell in a tree or an underground burrow, female squirrels typically give birth to two to eight offspring in each litter. Baby squirrels are blind and rely solely on their mothers for the first two or three months of their lives. Mothers usually have several litters in a year, so most squirrel populations are large and constantly growing.

Did You Know?

  • Squirrels warn each other of approaching danger with a whistling call.

  • Squirrels range in size from 5 to 26 inches, and can weigh up to 4 lbs.

  • Like other rodents, squirrels have four front teeth that never stop growing.

  • Tree squirrels can rotate their ankles 180 degrees and descend a tree headfirst.

  • Adult squirrels have a lifespan of around 5 to 10 years in the wild.

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