Squirrel. Maybe you think there’s nothing special about that one animal. Yep, maybe it’s true. Squirrels are just squirrels. But, do you know the squirrel type are the largest species of tree squirrels? How big have you ever seen squirrel? What is clear might be smaller than this one squirrel.
Fox squirrel is the largest tree squirrel species. In appearance, this type of squirrel is not much different from other squirrels. They are brown hairy with a long, slightly curved tail at the end. This squirrel is a North American native animal. Despite the differences in size and coloration, they are sometimes mistaken for American red squirrels or eastern grey squirrels in areas where the species co-exist.
The squirrel’s total body length is around 45 to 70 cm (17.7 to 27.6 in), tail length is 20 to 33 cm (7.9 to 13.0 in), and they range in weight from 500 to 1,000 grams. There is no sexual dimorphism in size or appearance. Individuals tend to be smaller in the west. There are three distinct geographical phases in coloration: In most areas the animal upper, their body is brown-grey to brown-yellow with a typically brownish-orange underside, while in eastern regions such as the Appalachians there are more strikingly-patterned dark brown and black squirrels with white bands on the face and tail. In the south can be found isolated communities with uniform black coats. To help with climbing, they have sharp claws, developed extensors of digits and flexors of forearms, and abdominal musculature. Fox squirrels have excellent vision and well-developed senses of hearing and smell. They use scent marking to communicate with other fox squirrels.
Talking about animal facts, it’s incomplete if we don’t participate in talking about their reproductive habit. Next is the fact that Fox squirrel to reproduce.
- Polygamy animal
Fox squirrel is an animal of polygamy. Polygamy animals where is the male animal that marry several females. Their behavior of polygamy is that the Fox squirrel will chase some females to get it. After getting it, they will protect the female from the attention of other males. Wow, protective huh?
- Mating season
Female fox squirrel come into estrus in mid-December or early January then again in June. For those of you who are curious about what estrus is, estrus is also commonly known as lust. This process results in both physiological and psychological changes that are very common in female animals. Female fox squirrel normally produces two litters a year, however, yearling females may only produce one. Females become sexually mature at 10 to 11 months of age and usually produce their first litter when they are a year old.
- During pregnancy
The gestation period for fox squirrel females is around 44-45 days. The month of January sees the birth of the earliest litter but most of them are born between March and July. Compared to other animals, Fox squirrel’s pregnancy period is calculated to be faster. Female animal are usually more than two months pregnant, but Fox squirrel is pregnant in less than two months.
Maybe you think only birds of the nation can do nesting, but in fact animals from other nation also do the same when they will give birth. Female fox squirrel also nesting when they are about to give birth. They will nest in tree that may be the same location as the nesting Woodpecker. Uniquely, Fox squirrel doesn’t only use tree material when forming nest. It is little bit different with Woodpecker that focusing to make a hole in the tree. They also use other materials such as leaves to help warm them. Fox squirrel will cut branches to build their nests. Given that during their pregnancy it is winter, making a nest as warm as possible is their main goal.
- Baby’s condition
At the time of birth, baby Fox squirrel was born without hair, blind, and helpless. Their eyes will open at the age of 4 to 5 weeks and the ears open at 6 weeks. Fox squirrel is weaned between 12 and 14 weeks but may not be longer until 16 weeks. Baby Fox squirrel is very dependent on their milk for the first few weeks of their lives. This breastfeeding period will last from five weeks to three months because the development of Fox squirrel is slow compared to some other rodent species.
All animals have their own uniqueness in reproducing. All they do is art for making new individual and to continue their descendant. This is something we should be grateful for and take care of. Living is a form of low extinction. The most important thing is the balance of the ecosystem. It will not be a problem for animals with large populations as long as we can balance it well. Don’t cut down tree that are their habitat and original home. Don’t genocide them. And always protect their babies. All of that is how we maintain the balances that we should have done.