Why are there more urban squirrels than forest ones???

Discussion in 'Earth Science' started by Syzygys, Sep 27, 2011.

  1. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

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    I live in a suburb where there are plenty of trees. And squirrels. I can't go out without seeing at least one.
    Now lately I have hiked in close by state parks and I didn't see not even one squirrel in forest setting. I wonder, why is that?

    I assume in the forest with all those trees there is plenty of food and places to hide. So what gives? Is it the lack of natural predators that makes the squirrel population to prefer the urban setting????
     
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  3. skaught The field its covered in blood Valued Senior Member

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    Well there is actually probably less food in the wild but more hiding places. Squirrels in the wild also are not accustomed to humans so they probably hide when they sense us. Urban squirrels are less afraid of humans. In Minneapolis, I used to go to this park and the damn things wouldn't even run from me. I was even able to pet a few of them. Food is also much more plentiful in urban areas like in our garbage, and the numerous bird feeders etc. They are the bane of my mom who likes to have bird feeders and watch the birds. Damn things scare off all the birdies! And yes, they Probably have less predators in urban areas, except for kitties of course...
     
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  5. scheherazade Northern Horse Whisperer Valued Senior Member

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    Squirrels are omnivores and are a very adaptable species. Our human habitations provide plenty of shelter for them, access to a great variety of foodstuffs and significant protection from many of their predators would be my opinion.

    Though I am surrounded by boreal forest, the red squirrels are constantly scoping out my place and have nested in one of the horse run-in sheds one year. I have to keep a close eye on my horse blankets also as they like fabric fibers to line their nest. This year I found some baby squirrels in my attached greenhouse. Their mother had slipped into one of the horse watering troughs and drowned. I did 'catch and release' but I'm not sure if they were of sufficient age to survive.

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    Because of the damage they can inflict on wiring and insulation, I take measures to deter them from my home. Not sure how that one sneaked in and kept such a low profile.

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  7. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

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    The metro squirrels eat better, get bigger, they reproduce more, they have less predation (cars probably put paid to most of them).

    The squirrels in urban areas are these huge, sleek, well-fed things that will eat out of your hand in some places.

    And the gray ones we have here seem to be happy with the wheat based food-scraps to be abundantly had in the trash.

    The human suckers for their cutesiness are just the icing on the people food cake.
     
  8. leopold Valued Senior Member

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    my guess is that "urban squirrels" are used to seeing, and being around, people and therefor do not hide from them.

    i have seen squirrels right on the edge of roads and remain there while cars zip past just inches from them.

    BTW a squirrel can bark like a dog.
     
  9. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

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    The correct answer is sort of buried in the different responses above. The primary thing is that there ARE more in the woods - but those are not accustomed to people and can/do hide VERY easily.

    My 4 acres are pretty much untouched woods - I don't even have a lawn, no grass anywhere, just trees back-to-back. If I go outside and sit still and quietly for a few minutes, the critters appear EVERYWHERE!

    However, one thing *can* make a little difference - all my trees are hardwoods and a coniferous forest isn't going to sustain nearly as many of them.

    Oh - and their barking and growling sounds *much* more like angry cats than it does dogs.

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  10. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

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    Before I found out their mating bark was a squirrel, I thought that was a birdcall.

    Then a saw and heard a male squirrel in a tree, belting his horny little heart out...churrr...churrrr

    I do suspect there to be a great strength to the mating drive of any animal...whose scrotal size is larger than their brain size...
     
  11. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    Some people feed squirrels in winter.
    I do.
    If it's a warm day, they will wake up and have a scout around for food.
    I love the fastidious way they pick things up and eat them with their "hands".
    It's usually a fine day, so their fur looks beautiful in the sunlight.
     
  12. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    LOL, me too.
     
  13. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    There are more nuts living in urban areas than in forests!

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  14. milkweed Valued Senior Member

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    I would add that in urban areas, there are more openings via mowed lawns that allow you to see the squirrels. On my five acres, very little is mowed and I hear more squirrels than see (except when they are gathered on my mowed area eating my bird food). They are all over the ground gathering food in the unmowed areas, 3-5 hops from a tree.
     
  15. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    Is that what that barking sound is?
    I thought it was a bird till I read this post.
    I heard it last might, like a crow only even harsher.
    Do they mate in the Autumn?
     
  16. origin Trump is the best argument against a democracy. Valued Senior Member

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    As one who use to hunt squirrels the answer is the little bastards hide from you. What is really weird is how fast they can dissapear when they see you.

    My mom use to make the best squirrel stew! It is sort of strange that it tastes so good since squirrels are just fluffy tailed tree rats.

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  17. scheherazade Northern Horse Whisperer Valued Senior Member

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    In these parts, the small red squirrels mate in February and also again in mid-summer. Most American red squirrels only have one litter per year, usually in the spring according to Wiki, but these squirrels obviously didn't read that part as I found baby squirrels in August. They are a very territorial creature and use their bark to announce their presence and dominion as well as for a mating call.

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    Last edited: Sep 27, 2011
  18. scheherazade Northern Horse Whisperer Valued Senior Member

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    The given scientific name for the species rather summarizes their status.

    Order: Rodentia
    Family: Sciuridae

    Have you had any Rodentia Sciuridae Stew lately?

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  19. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    we call them tree chicken here.
     
  20. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    what about black squirrels. We have a lot around here.
     
  21. MacGyver1968 Fixin' Shit that Ain't Broke Valued Senior Member

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    My grandfather used to say "squirrels are just rats with better PR agents"

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    We have a metric buttload of them in Dallas, I imagine it's due to the numerous pecan trees in the area.
     
  22. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

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    A metric buttload?
    What's the conversion factor for ordinary (Imperial?) buttload to metric?
     
  23. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    Did you know they like to chew on bones? I had one steal a raccoon skull from my patio, and I saw it gnawing on something white later.
     

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