HOW TO ACT LIKE A SQUIRREL THIS FALL
I have always been fascinated by the squirrel. They’re very cute animals and scurry up and down a tree like nobody’s business. They always seem to be in a hurry. But why do they stop in the middle of the road?
The most common squirrel we see in DE, PA, and MD is the eastern gray squirrel. Its scientific name is Sciurus carolinensis. We simply call it a squirrel. It is a tree squirrel as opposed to those that live in burrows in the ground or among rocks and is native to the Northeast.
Squirrels Prepare In The Summer and Fall
The eastern gray squirrel is busy preparing for winter all summer and fall foraging for nuts, seeds, buds, and flowers of trees. They hoard their food in secret stashes for their winter meals. Some stashes are its “fast food” while others are stored for months. Each squirrel is estimated to make several thousand stashes each year. They mark their stash using their memory and amazing sense of smell that can detect its food through 1 foot of snow.
They also prepare by increasing their food consumption and body mass. They basically get fat.
Squirrels Do Not Hibernate in Winter
Gray squirrels live in dens, holes typically constructed in healthy, living trees and nests, which are densely packed masses of sticks and leaves (and any other available natural and/or human-made materials). Nests are usually located high up in the forked branches of large trees. Dens are preferred but nests can be very weather proof and sturdy habitations.
They also will use chimneys, attics, and soffits to den. Squirrels cause problems by digging in yards and gardens, raiding bird feeders, and gnawing holes near gutters and eaves to invade homes. They can get into attics, walls, and ceilings, gnawing on wires and getting trapped in chimneys and flues. They may exit into basements and living areas, chewing indoor sills trying to escape.
Gray squirrels do not hibernate. They have to plan for and rely on their fat reserves and food stashes to survive the long, cold winters. As long as the temperatures are not too cold (not below 30 degrees F), squirrels will be out shopping their stashes or raiding others.
Once the frigid winter temperatures become unbearable, squirrels will burrow into a warm, seclusive place and sleep (a lot). They hunker down in their den opting to stay warm with their buddies rather than galavanting in the snow. Science Alert: Squirrels keep their body temperatures stable (within homeostasis) by sleeping in a communal arrangement. This is a form of conduction, in which heat can be transferred between the two squirrels that are touching.
When it’s warm enough, they will venture out and cash in on the food they saved during the Summer and Fall. It is estimated that a squirrel can hoard 3 years worth of food!
Get Prepared For Winter Like a Squirrel
Just like the gray eastern squirrel, plan and prepare for a taxing winter by making sure your heater is working properly, your oil tank will never run out of heating oil, and you can afford higher energy bills. For many people, this is a stressful chore. That’s why Hillside Oil Heating & Cooling has created our Worry-Free Winter Packages. We’ll take care of your heating system, your fuel deliveries, and help spread out the cost of heating oil.