Eurasian red squirrel, orRed squirrel(Sciurus vulgaris)
Genus – sciurus
The Red squirrel has a typical head-and-body length of 19 to 23 cm (7.5 to 9 in), a tail length of 15 to 20 cm (6 to 8 in), and a mass of 250 to 340 g (8.8 to 12.0 oz). Males and females are the same size.
The coat of the Red squirrel varies in color with time of year and location. There are several different coat color morphs ranging from black to red. Red coats are most common in Great Britain; in other parts of Europe and Asia different coat colors co-exist within populations, much like hair color in some human populations. The underside of the squirrel is always white-cream in color. The Red squirrel sheds its coat twice a year, switching from a thinner summer coat to a thicker, darker winter coat with noticeably larger ear-tufts (a prominent distinguishing feature of this species) between August and November.
Red squirrels occupy coniferous woods in Siberia and northern Europe, preferring Scots pine, Siberian pine and Norway spruce.
Red squirrels are usually most active during the morning or late afternoon. This is when they eat the most food. In spring and summer, they remain resting in their nests around midday to escape the extreme heat. In winter, this midday rest is likely to be very short or missed entirely. Although these squirrels spend the majority of their time up in the trees, they come to the ground to search for food and to bury food items. Eurasian red squirrels don't hibernate, but they rest in their nests to keep safe during strong winds or bad storms, coming out only to find food. Females remain in their nest for long periods to look after their young. Red squirrels do not form groups, but males will gather within a female's territory to compete for the chance to mate with her.
Red squirrels eat mostly the seeds from trees, and will neatly strip conifer cones to obtain the seeds, nuts, berries, and young shoots. They occasionally eat bird eggs or chicks.
Mating can take place in late winter from February to March between June and July in summer. Some females may mate with a number of different males. The gestation period is 36-40 days, and usually 3-5 young are born, but the number can range from 1-8. Naked, blind and pink, the young develop slowly, with their eyes not opening before they are 27 days old. By day 30, they are covered in fur and begin to go outside the nest. Within 7 weeks they are active outside the nest and become fully independent soon after weaning. They have established their own territories by 9-11 weeks of age. They are sexually mature when they are 1-year-old but continue to develop.
The mortality rate of young Eurasian red squirrels is high, due to heavy predation by birds and mammals. Less than one in four survive to their first birthday. Although adults can live for 6 to 7 years in the wild, and longer in captivity, most individuals probably only live for 2-4 years.
The first thing that should appear in your home with the appearance of a squirrel-a cage or an aviary. A 60 cm high and 50 cm wide cage is suitable for a squirrel. An adult squirrel will need more space. For an older animal it is better to buy a cage about 1.5 m high and 60x80 cm wide. In such a home, the squirrel will feel comfortable. When choosing a cage, pay attention to the presence of a pallet in it. Convenient retractable, galvanized and equipped with a handle pallet will save your cleaning time in the squirrel's home.It is also very important to equip the squirrel's home inside. First of all, the cage should be equipped with a water drinker and a food bowl. At the bottom of the cage you should fill the bowl for rodents. Install a house resembling a nest or hollow and put in it dry hay, cut cotton cloth or scraps of fur. When buying a squirrel house, make sure that it has a hinged top or a convenient hole that your hand will fit into. Housing of this design will be easier to clean. But do not buy a house without a bottom, because it will still need to be fixed as high as possible in the enclosure.
In addition, you need to put a snag in the cage or fix a branch on which the squirrel will grind its teeth and claws. If the animal does not have something to sharpen its claws and teeth on, then soon the squirrel will begin to have health problems.
For actively spending time in the enclosure additional elements can be installed: a wheel, a hammock, a ladder, bathing. Only when installing additional accessories, keep in mind that the wheel must be axle-free, and the mounting on the hammocks are carefully hidden.
Very small squirrels up to two weeks old (with closed eyes and no hair) are fed 2 ml of milk every 2 hours. 3-week-old animals are fed 2-4 ml every 3-4 hours. Babies of 5 weeks of age are given 4-6 ml of milk in 4-5 hours. The last feeding of a 5-week-old squirrel can be carried out at 00:00 hours, and the first morning feeding can begin at 06:00. Also, at the age of five weeks, solid food, peeled pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, low-fat cottage cheese and dried fruits are introduced to the diet of squirrels. Starting feeding, do not add fruit or vegetables to the squirrel in any case. The stomach of the baby can not simultaneously digest, and lactose.
After each feeding, the baby needs to have the tummy massaged so that it can go to the toilet.
At the age of 2 months, the squirrel is completely transferred to solid feeding. From this period, the baby begins to eat all the foods.
Products that can be fed to a pet squirrel: mushrooms, cones, acorns, fruits, vegetables, dried fruits, bread, cereals, nuts other than almonds and peanuts, young tree shoots, beetles, bird eggs, mealworm, chicken meat. Out of the minerals in the cell there should be salt stone and chalk.