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  • San Bernardino Educational Article of the Month - About squirrels

About squirrels

About San Bernardino squirrels

Most North American squirrels are called San Bernardino red squirrels even though there are other actual species they are all just generally lumped together, red squirrels are also called tree squirrels, California Pine squirrels, boomers and chickarees. The biggest misconception about squirrels is that they only eat pine nuts, they did not only eat nuts, they also eat seeds, buds, needles and mushrooms. During hard times they've also been seen eating willow leaves and bearberry flowers and berries. As well as that assortment of vegetation they have been seen eating birds eggs, baby hares, lizards and other large insects.

Squirrels are very cute members of the San Bernardino rodent family, they weigh up to half a pound full-grown and the females usually breed twice a year. Females can breed once they are about a year old and even though it is generally accepted they breed twice a year some years they will not breed while other years they may only breed once. Most litters are one to five individuals. Red squirrels in particular are very territorial, and each California squirrel, male or female has its own territory, the females are the ones who leave their territory to find a mate. The one unusual behavior female red squirrels have is that occasionally the female who owns the territory will bequeath the territory to one of the daughters and she will actually move to a new territory, this usually happens near the end of her maximum eight year life span.

Squirrels are one of the most dispersed animals in North America, they are found from Hudson's Bay in the North all across the lower forty eight, right across Canada and into Alaska and down into Central America. The species has adapted to various climates and food supplies. Until 1987 none of the California squirrel sub species appeared to be in any danger, but in that year an isolated group of San Bernardino squirrels in Arizona experienced massive population decline so it was placed on the endangered species list. No other squirrel population is of any conservation concern at the moment. Red squirrels are easily identified because they have a reddish fur generally with noticeable white underbelly. At the moment there are twenty five recognized subspecies of red squirrels. As their favorite diet is the seeds of conifer cones there main range is of course where these conifers grow. Red squirrels are generally considered to be prey for most North American predators occluding San Bernardino coyotes, lynx, red tailed hawks, goshawks, foxes, wolves and even crows.

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