What Purpose Do Squirrels Serve In The Eco System?

Everyone has seen a squirrel bouncing around their yard or scurrying up a tree, but how much do you really know about these highly adapted organisms and their role in the ecosystem?

To start, their biggest contribution to the forest is in shaping plant composition. They have a peculiar habit of taking seeds, which are their main source of nutrients, and burying them. They bury them throughout the environment, and often, when they go back and look for them, they forget where they are. When that happens, they are effectively planting seeds said Robert McCleery, an associate professor in the department of wildlife ecology and conservation in the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

Did you know if you see a squirrel rubbing its face on an acorn, that’s the squirrel marking the seed with its scent, increasing the chances it will find it later when it is hungry.

How about when you see squirrels chasing another squirrel? That’s a mating chase!

And when you see them chewing non stop? “The reason they are chewing on things is because they have incisors — front teeth — that are always growing,” McCleery explained. “If they don’t chew on something, their teeth are going to grow into their lower jaw and skull.” To avoid that, squirrels will chew on anything that helps wear down their teeth.

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