Plenty of seemingly inane questions can keep you awake at night. Since you are here, you are probably thinking of something as well. One question that may be bothering you is, what is a group of squirrels called?
A group of squirrels is adorably called a scurry. Even though they look cute, squirrels are fiercely territorial. These tiny critters are willing to fight to the death when defending their homes from potential intruders. In addition, although most squirrel species are active during the day, others are also crepuscular. In other words, they are only active during dusk and dawn.
Read on to learn more about squirrels, including what a group of squirrels is called and other exciting things.
What Is a Group of Squirrels Called?
A group of squirrels is commonly called a “scurry.” Sometimes, you can also use the term “dray” to refer to them. However, a “dray” typically describes a family of squirrels.
The word “scurry” is not exclusive to squirrels. Because of its versatility, you can also use such a term to describe groups of other small creatures.
The ancestors of the squirrels roaming in your yard likely came from the Eurasian squirrels. These squirrels were stowed away in European ships traveling to North America in the 17th century.
Because they do not have any natural predators, these squirrels thrived and managed to survive until today.
What Are Squirrels?
Part of the Sciuridae Family of Rodents
Squirrels are small, agile, and bushy-tailed rodents. These animals are part of the Sciuridae family of rodents, including:
- Prairie dogs,
- Chipmunks, and
There are currently more than 200 known species of squirrels divided into:
- Flying, and
- Ground squirrels.
Because there are many different squirrel types, they can significantly vary in size. The smallest known squirrel, the African pygmy, can only grow up to 5 inches (including the tail).
They also only weigh 0.35 ounces. The world’s largest squirrel is the Indian giant squirrel. They can grow up to 36 inches in length and weigh up to 4 pounds.
Grey squirrels are most common in North America and fall under the medium-sized squirrel classification. The grey squirrel can grow to 20 inches. Typically, they can also weigh between 1 and 1.5 pounds.
Where Is the Squirrel Generally Found?
You can usually find squirrels on every continent except Australia, Antarctica, and the Arctic. You will usually find tree squirrels in wooded areas.
The main reason is that they prefer to live in holes and crevices in trees. While ground squirrels like to live in burrows, usually, several families live inside a tunnel system.
A squirrel can eat around a pound of food every week. Most people mistakenly believe that squirrels only eat nuts. However, note that this is not true at all.
These tiny rodents are omnivores. This means that, aside from plants, squirrels also eat bird eggs, insects, and smaller animals. Some species would even eat young snakes.
Fun Facts About Squirrels
To increase your familiarity with a group of squirrels even further, here are also other facts about them:
1. Have Front Teeth That Never Stop Growing
All squirrels have four front teeth (incisors) that never stop growing as long as they live. This is why they need to eat nuts and other hard food to wear down their teeth.
If they don’t do this, squirrels won’t even be able to close their mouths. They might not also be able to eat correctly, causing them to die eventually.
2. Flying Squirrels Do Not Fly
All squirrels fall under three different types or categories: tree squirrels, ground squirrels, and flying squirrels. Although named that way, flying squirrels do not fly.
Instead, they glide great distances using the loose flaps of skin stretched across their limbs. Instead of wings like that of a bat, flying squirrels have a parachute.
3. Squirrels Have a Highly Sensitive Nose
Squirrels can tell which nuts in a pile are ripe by using their highly-sensitive noses. These rodents can also tell hollowed-out acorns from good ones by weighing them. If it is too light, then weevils most likely ate it already.
Are you wondering how squirrels find the nuts they buried? They use a combination of their memories and smell. They also look for signs of disturbed soil. This makes squirrels quite bright.
4. Squirrel Nests Are Called “Dreys”
Tree squirrels would live in holes in trees if they could find them. However, they will build nests if they cannot find hollow tree trunks.
A squirrel’s drey usually comes from twigs, grass, tree bark, leaves, and anything they can find. A drey is a compact, spherical structure that tree squirrels would build on forks on tree branches.
5. Squirrels Can Communicate with Each Other
Squirrels can “talk” with each other using various noises, like barks and quacking noises. However, the most common way squirrels communicate is through their tails. They use their tails to signal each other when there is a threat nearby.
6. A Typical Squirrel Can Run At 20 Miles per Hour
A typical squirrel can run at speeds reaching 20 miles per hour. An average human male can only run at 13 miles per hour.
Moreover, a squirrel can survive a jump from up to 20 feet high, thanks to their padded feet. They can also use their bushy tails, like parachutes, to slow down their fall.
7. Squirrels Help Oak Trees Prosper
Squirrels help oak trees prosper because they usually bury all the acorns they can get. However, note that they would only dig up roughly 70% of them later. The forgotten acorns will, therefore, have a good chance of growing into healthy trees.
8. Red Squirrels Are Endangered Species in the UK
In the 1940s, you usually find red squirrels almost everywhere in the UK. However, the local population was nearly decimated by squirrel pox. Now, the red squirrel is an endangered species in the UK.
Also, because they are larger and more resilient to diseases, the grey squirrel population boomed due to their eliminated competition.
9. You Can Find Them Almost Everywhere in the World
Because you can find them almost everywhere in the world, some species are pretty unique-looking. For instance, there is the tufted ground squirrel, which you can only find in Borneo. This species has a tail almost one and a half times the length of its body.
There is also the Kaibab squirrel, which you can only find in the Grand Canyon in Arizona. These squirrels have pure white tails. There is also the Indian palm squirrel. They come with beautiful brown and white stripes running down the back.
They are also wonderful, and they inspired a Hindu legend. It is said that a squirrel once helped the Hindu deity, Lord Rama. He then stroked its back as thanks. Rama’s divine fingers were said to have left the stripes on the squirrel’s back.
Again, what is a group of squirrels called? Scurry refers to a group of squirrels. Squirrels are territorial and active during dawn and dusk.
What Are the Dangers of Squirrels on Your Property?
A squirrel may seem cute, but a group staying in your yard can quickly become a nuisance. These little rodents have a nasty habit of stealing birdseed, flower blooms, and ripe fruits. They may also sneak into houses to steal food right off the table.
Also, squirrels can be a menace when you have a garden. They dig holes in the plots and eat the seedlings. Even potted plants are not safe.
Here are more reasons you need to do whatever you can to keep squirrels out of your property:
1. Might Cause Severe Damage to Trees
Squirrels will not only eat the fruits and buds of fruit trees but also gnaw on the bark and branches. If there are a lot of squirrels in your yard, they might cause severe damage to your trees.
They may even kill the trees if left unattended. If the squirrels strip the bark off of saplings, they will not be able to grow anymore.
2. Can Get Into Your Vegetable Patch
If a squirrel finds a fruit or nut in your yard, it will be buried nearby. This means squirrels can mess up your lawn. If they can get into your vegetable patch, that would be bad news for your plants. Squirrels not only eat the leaves but also uproot plants and eat the roots.
3. Can Find a Way to Your Kitchen
Do you have a vegetable garden? Then expect a much smaller yield than usual when a scurry of squirrels finds its way into your yard. They can be even more of a menace if they can find a way inside your kitchen.
4. Can Damage Your Home
Squirrels, just like other kinds of rodents, love to gnaw. They need to chew to prevent their teeth from overgrowing. This is why squirrels usually gnaw through wood, plaster, and other parts of your home. Even worse is when they would chew through electrical wires, causing severe fire hazards.
Also, if a pair of squirrels nest in a crawl space in your home, they can multiply quite quickly. This may lead to a lot more damage.
5. Carry Diseases
Aside from invading and destroying your home, squirrels can also carry various dangerous diseases. The diseases that squirrels are known carriers of include:
One reason squirrels have such short lifespans is that they carry harmful diseases. It is possible to transmit these diseases from squirrels to humans in various ways. Most of the time, they get transferred via scratches or bites.
Why Do You Have So Many Squirrels in Your Yard?
Here are the things you need to figure out to solve your infestation problem:
1. Lots of Plants
Do you have lots of bushes, shrubs, or hedges? Then know that they are the ideal hiding places for small rodents like squirrels. These tiny animals do not like hanging out in open spaces. The main reason is that they need to hide from the numerous predators that are out to get them.
This is also why squirrels love the cover provided by thick vegetation. It allows them to get around without getting noticed.
To prevent squirrels from frequenting your yard, make sure that you keep your hedges under control. Keep them trimmed and maintained correctly.
Also, ensure that you see the underside of the bushes, so squirrels will have no place to conceal themselves. Not only will you keep squirrels at bay, but your yard will also look cleaner and neater.
2. Availability of Food and Water Sources
Do you have a birdfeeder or birdbath in your yard? Like many birds who love this nifty feature on your property, squirrels will also like it. If you are a squirrel and find an entire plate of food, you will surely grab the chance.
These birdfeeders are why squirrels love to hang out in your yard. However, this does not necessarily mean you should get rid of the feeder.
Just position them somewhere that squirrels cannot reach them but note that it is a task easier said than done. Squirrels are excellent climbers, so this will be quite a challenge.
3. Plenty of Trees
Tree squirrels are usually the ones that most homeowners consider pests. This means that having trees in your yard is like you giving them free real estate. If your yard has several trees, odds are there are a couple of squirrels in each right now.
Unfortunately, aside from killing them, there is no surefire way of keeping squirrels away from your trees. Still, you can do a few things to deter them from nesting.
For instance, if the branches of the trees touch the eaves of your roof, trim them. This will prevent squirrels from having access to your house.
How to Keep Squirrels Out of Your Property
Here are some ways to somewhat keep squirrels out of your yard without having to harm them:
1. Take Away Their Food
Squirrels, like raccoons and possums, are foragers and scavengers. They typically pick up fallen fruits and nuts, but they would also go into trashcans in search of scraps. Make sure to cover your trash bins tightly. Also, if you have a compost pit, bury the food scraps deep inside it.
2. Let Dogs Play in Your Backyard
Let your dogs play in your backyard. They will chase away squirrels. If they sense the presence of dogs in your yard and garden, they will avoid it as much as possible.
If you don’t have dogs, consider getting a motion-detecting sprinkler. This should be able to spray them with water when they get too close.
Aside from those, many claims that pinwheels, hanging CDs, and aluminum pie tins work well in scaring away squirrels. They also work in scaring other unwanted visitors.
3. Keep Them Away Using Repellents
Several common home remedies are ideal for keeping squirrels and other bothersome wildlife away from your home. A couple of these remedies are chili peppers and mint.
Squirrels hate the smell and taste of these things. Aside from planting these plants near your home, whip up a spray solution using either one of these ingredients. You can use the solution as a spray around your home.
There are also commercially-available wildlife repellant sprays that are more effective than home remedies. These commercial sprays are also longer-lasting.
4. Spread Mulch Around Your Plants
Even though squirrels are natural diggers, they hate digging through decaying plant matter. Spreading a layer of mulch around your plants and seedlings will deter squirrels from digging into them.
If you’re planting a new plot of vegetables, cover them with at least 2 inches of mulch. This can help prevent squirrels from digging into them.
5. Use Plant Covers
While waiting for your other repellents to work, cover them to deter them from damaging your plants. You can use netting made from nylon to protect them.
It is also a good idea to build a fence around them using chicken wire. A physical barrier might not look great, but it should do in the meantime.
In Closing – What Is a Group of Squirrels Called?
You can commonly call a group of squirrels a “scurry.” Do not let their size fool you, as they are fiercely territorial. Mother squirrels will fight animals much larger than them if they get too close to their nest. These included humans.
Most squirrels are also active during the day. Despite that, you can also find a handful of species awake during the dark parts of the day.
Also, even though squirrels look cute and cuddly, they are very destructive, especially to your garden plants. Fortunately, there are easy ways to keep them away from your yard without having to cause harm to them.