Zoology & Botany

squirrel

Prepare a picture of/book about/a toy squirrel in advance, as well as a sample of fur

Say: Look at this animal. (Show a picture of a squirrel.) This is a mammal.

Remember, to be classified as a mammal, an animal should have hair or fur, mammary glands (mammal mothers nurse their young with milk), lungs and need air to breathe. Mammals that live on land are warm blooded, have 4 legs and ears that stick out.

(Point to the squirrel) Say: Squirrels are familiar to almost everyone. The typical tree squirrels are members of the genus Sciurus. These are day-active animals with slender bodies, sleek, and thick fur ( Approach the sample of fur and let the baby feel its smoothness). All tree squirrels have narrow shaped face. The nose is located at the tip of the muzzle in which the mouth is on the underside of the face. Tree squirrels have four front teeth that grow at a rapid rate, as all rodents' teeth do, forcing the squirrel to chew on wood to cut down the sharp incisors. In addition, the squirrel's black eyes are on either side of the head, widening the vision area. Also, the creatures have whiskers and a bushy tail along with four paws. The hind paws are longer than the fore paws with five digits on each one. On each digit is a curved claw for climbing and digging. Although different colors, nearly all squirrels shed their coat, going from summer to winter coats with the season.

Go back to the picture of the squirrel. Say: let’s find squirrel’s body parts. This is its head, eyes, nose, mouth, body, legs: 1,2,3,4; this is its bushy tail! Do you know baby? When tree squirrels leap from branch to branch and scurry up and down trees using their sharp claws to dig into the trunk; they always descend head first! Squirrels are very trusting animals, and are of the very few wild animal species which will eat out of a person’s hand!

Squirrels are living things and need energy to survive.

Squirrels are omnivores, which means they like to eat plants and meat. Squirrels mainly eat fungi, seeds, nuts and fruits, but they will also munch on eggs, small insects, caterpillars, small animals and even young snakes. Do you know, baby? To prepare for cold months, squirrels bury their food. In the winter months they have a store of food they can eat when supplies are scarce.

Whether they dwell high in a tree or in an underground burrow, female squirrels typically give birth to two to eight offspring, after a gestation period of 33 to 46 weeks. Babies are called kits or kittens and are born blind. They depend on their mothers for around two or three months. After seven to eight weeks, the young are weaned. After the young are able to leave the nest, they remain with the mother for several more weeks as they learn the skills that they will need in adulthood.

Squirrels live in almost every habitat from tropical rainforest to semiarid desert, avoiding only the high polar regions and the driest of deserts. We need to take care of Squirrels and treat them with respect because they are living things just like us, people.

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