About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A squirrel’s tail is much more than a fashion accessory

Would so many people love the squirrels if they came with a rat tail instead of those fluffy poof tails? The bushy tail of a squirrel might make all the difference. But a squirrel’s tail is also very functional. It is used to protect, balance, and communicate.

The very name "squirrel" comes from two Greek words, skia, meaning "shadow," and oura, meaning "tail."  This is because a squirrel can wrap its tail over its body to protect itself from the sun, rain or snow. It can also wrap it around itself when sleeping to keep itself warm.

The other main function for the tail is as a counterbalance when leaping through the trees. If you watch squirrels walk along a wire, you will notice they swing their tails from side to side to maintain balance.

Squirrels also use their tails to communicate. By flicking their tail a squirrel can warn other nearby squirrels of danger. Or when they can’t figure out a squirrel proof feeder, the tails flick out of frustration. And a squirrel ‘shivers’ the tail when they see a potential mate.

Related Articles:

How do I keep squirrels off my bird feeders? http://bit.ly/yiZsML
Squirrel proof bird feeder reviews http://bit.ly/waJs9o
Why are Squirrels Called Squirrels? http://bit.ly/yhktkr
How many species of squirrels are in Michigan? http://bit.ly/yYt6Nb
Black Squirrel History & Facts http://bit.ly/AxiqPz
"Frisky" Fox Squirrels http://bit.ly/AndeTw
Why squirrels chew http://bit.ly/AjVzFW

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