Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Squirrel, a book-name for any individual of tbe Rodent sub-family Sciurinae, with seven genera, universally distributed except in the Australian region; and especially for those of the type-genus Sciurus, with about seventy-five species, of which only three belong to the Palaearctic region. They are arboreal animals, with long, bushy tail; pointed ears, which are generally tufted; with four digits and a rudimentary thumb on the fore limbs, and five digits on the hind limbs, armed with long, sharp, curved claws. The species vary in size from that of a cat to that of a mouse, and attain their greatest size and most brilliant coloration in the tropics. The Common Squirrel (S. vulgaris) ranges over the whole Palaearctic region. Its total length is about 18 inches, of which the tail counts for nearly half. The fur is reddish brown above (tinged with grey in winter) and white below. It is essentially a wood-dweller, and its diet is almost exclusively vegetable, though it is very fond of birds' eggs, and sometimes eats beetles and grubs. It builds a roofed nest or "drey," in which the young are born. These animals hibernate, taking their winter sleep in holes in trees, having previously laid up a store of provisions to serve them when they wake up, as they do from time to time. [FLYING SQUIRREL.]