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Squirrel

There are about 54 kinds of squirrel in the whole of Russia. The most widespread kind is the common squirrel. The body-length of this animal can be 20-22 cm, the tail-length 19-31 cm. It can weigh between 180 and 400 g. Colouring differs not only between kinds of squirrel, but also within one breed and it depends on the regional habitat, season, age or on the individual animal. For example, the common squirrel can be red, ashy, almost black etc. It is worth noting that the sticking-up fur on the ears is usual only for common squirrels among all the species of Russian squirrel.

All the squirrels are mostly herbivorous. They eat tree seeds, berries and fruit, nuts, mushrooms, buds and shoots, bark and lichens. But sometimes their diet also includes animal feed: insects, bird eggs, lizards and snakes, nestlings and even some small rodents.

Squirrels are typically tree-dwelling animals. They can climb very well on the branches and can easily climb from one tree to another. In the snowless season squirrel rarely jump to the ground. Their habitat is mostly trees and can be about 1 sq. hectare in area.

Squirrels don.t sleep in winter and from autumn prepare several pantries with foodstuffs. The squirrel lodges food not only in one hollow, but in a few, and can have up to five stores. But, there is only one .main house. (nest or as hunters say, dray), where the squirrel raises its young. Most squirrels breed twice a year - during spring and summer, making from 3 to 10 cubs in one litter after 38-44 days of pregnancy. Some southern kinds of squirrels conceive up to three litters during one breeding period. Squirrel cubs are fully-grown at 10-12 months. The life time of a squirrel is, on average, 8-9 years.




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