The Squirrel's Habitat and Food Sources
Squirrels prefer to live where there is an abundance of food. Usually, this is an area with nut- and seed-producing plants. Squirrels also like areas that produce many grasses and plants, because the new plant shoots are edible. Squirrels have to live in places that have trees, even in a city. This is because squirrels build nests in the trees, specifically for bearing young. It keeps the baby squirrels safe from harm when they are very young and left alone while the adult squirrels are searching for food. Red Squirrels live in forests usually. The gray squirrel is the most common squirrel in America and is often found near cities and people. In the winter when the time of nesting is over squirrels live in tree trunk holes to stay warm, or they find their way into local home's attics.
Since squirrels are from the rodent family of mammals, they are primarily vegetarians. They love eating acorns and other nuts, all kinds of seeds, fruits, mushrooms and young plants. They will also eat twigs and barks if the other foods are scarce. Even though squirrels prefer these foods occasionally they will break away from vegetarian foods to enjoy a small frog or a bird egg. Squirrels that are near people also will eat scraps, dog food and even raid the bird feeders. Squirrels don't always eat their food right away. They bury it around the ground, in fallen trees, and anywhere that seems a good hiding place. Later they did it up when hungry. Although they do this year round, it is done to a greater degree in the fall to prepare a store of foods for winter.
Squirrels have teeth that continually grow so that they stay sharp. They use their teeth to crack open nuts, and for chewing through things to get to food. Often when squirrels chew on wires or rocks, they are keeping their teeth worn down a bit but still sharp. Their claws are used for digging up stored foods or for tearing down barriers to get to foods. Their paws are flexible with individual digits allowing them to reach into small places and to hold on to the small foods they eat. A squirrel's bushy tail is also used in an indirect way during a food search. The tail helps the squirrel balance among the tree branches or along fences and roofs, so they don't fall while finding food. The last part of anatomy that helps a squirrel find food is its big eyes that can see to the sides very well. However, they are not good for seeing directly in front of them so for that they rely on their keen sense of smell to locate the food.