Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah
image A friendly gray squirrel snacks on chunks of bread Addie gave to him. These curious animals are found throughout Tooele County and in most parts of the country. This particular one, after eating, safely left the yard full and happy.

August 8, 2013
Female squirrels play hard to get when mating

With the brain the size of a walnut, squirrels are both smart and curious and at times are considered a nuisance for their daily rituals and enormous appetites. Consuming its own body weight of food each week, about 1 1/2 pounds, squirrels mainly eat nuts, seeds, fruit, bark and more than 30-60 different varieties of plants. Being Omnivores, they will also eat insects, bones from dead animals, abandoned deer antlers and sometimes bird eggs.

From how much squirrels eat many wonder why these rodents don’t eventually become obese. The fact is, squirrels are incapable of retaining high levels of body-fat and need to eat large quantities of food daily in order to stay active and to survive. This is why squirrels can’t hibernate. They are active year round for they cannot survive 24 hours without food.

Gray Squirrels have two mating seasons per year — December through January and then again in May through June. Males search for females by smelling an attractive scent she emits when ready to mate. Males begin the attraction process by performing “sneeze-like” mating calls. Females that are ready for mating will first play “hard to get,” forcing males into a ritual chase. With the male chasing and the female running, she will stop and wait for the pursuing male to catch up, then again continue running up and down trees, across telephone wires, and in and out of yards. This game can last up to two days, but sooner or later she eventually lets him catch her and allows him to mate.

 

Addie T. Lindsay, 16, is an accomplished writer and a photographer of wildlife creatures big and small. She can be contacted at CritterChatter@live.com.

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