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Have you ever wondered about the different types of squirrels that call New Hampshire home? The state is home to four different species of squirrels, each with their own unique characteristics and behaviors.
- New Hampshire is home to four species of squirrels: Eastern Gray Squirrel, Red Squirrel, Northern Flying Squirrel, and Southern Flying Squirrel.
- Each species has its own unique characteristics and habitat preferences, with the Northern Flying Squirrel facing a decline due to habitat loss.
- Squirrels play an important role in New Hampshire’s ecosystem and forest food web.
- Some species, such as the Southern Flying Squirrel, are adaptable to suburban areas.
1. The Eastern Gray Squirrel
So, you’re probably wondering why the Eastern Gray Squirrel is the most common type of squirrel you see in New Hampshire. Well, one reason is their behavior patterns.
Eastern Gray Squirrels are diurnal, which means they are active during the day and sleep at night. They are also highly adaptable and are able to thrive in a variety of habitats, from urban areas to forests.
Another reason for their abundance in New Hampshire is their habitat preferences. Eastern Gray Squirrels prefer deciduous forests, which are abundant in the state.
They build their nests, called dreys, in trees and are known to use multiple dreys throughout the year.
In addition to forests, Eastern Gray Squirrels also thrive in suburban and urban areas where there are trees and food sources, such as bird feeders and gardens.
Overall, their ability to adapt to different environments and their preference for common habitats make Eastern Gray Squirrels a common sight in New Hampshire.
[Related Post: 10 Types Of Hawks In New Hampshire]
2. The Red Squirrel
The Red Squirrel is a feisty little critter that can be found all throughout the state. These squirrels are typically smaller than their Eastern Gray counterparts, with reddish-brown fur and a distinctive white underbelly.
They are known for their bold and curious behavior, often chattering and scolding loudly when they feel threatened.
Red squirrels are most commonly found in coniferous forests, where they prefer to build their nests in the branches of trees.
They are known for their unique habitat preferences, which include a preference for older, more mature forests with a high density of coniferous trees.
In addition to building their nests in trees, red squirrels also cache food in the branches, storing nuts and seeds for the winter months.
Overall, the red squirrel is an interesting and important part of New Hampshire’s ecosystem, playing a crucial role in the forest food web.
3. The Flying Squirrel
Flying squirrels add wonder and magic to the forest at night with their unique ability to glide through the air.
The Northern Flying Squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus) is one of two species of flying squirrels found in New Hampshire, the other being the Southern Flying Squirrel (Glaucomys volans).
These small mammals are adapted for gliding, with their patagia, or webbed skin, stretched between their front and hind limbs.
The patagia acts like a parachute, allowing the flying squirrel to glide through the air while maneuvering and controlling their direction and speed with their tail.
Northern Flying Squirrels are nocturnal and prefer to live in forests with mature trees.
They glide from tree to tree in search of food and have a varied diet, feeding on nuts, seeds, fruits, insects, and fungi. During the winter months, they rely on stored food and may even enter a state of torpor to conserve energy.
Unfortunately, habitat loss and fragmentation have led to a decline in Northern Flying Squirrel populations. This makes them a species of concern in New Hampshire.
4. The Southern Flying Squirrel
Gliding through the forest at night, you might catch a glimpse of the Southern Flying Squirrel, with its webbed skin stretched between its limbs like a tiny superhero cape.
These nocturnal creatures are a common sight in the forests of New Hampshire, where they can be found living in hardwood or mixed forests with a preference for areas where there is plenty of mast-producing trees.
Behavior patterns of the Southern Flying Squirrel include being primarily active at night, using their large eyes to navigate through the forest canopy in search of food such as nuts, seeds, and insects.
They’re known to be social creatures, living in groups of up to 20 individuals in communal nests made of bark and leaves.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the average lifespan of a squirrel in New Hampshire?
On average, a squirrel in New Hampshire can live up to 6-10 years. Factors such as food availability, predation, and disease can affect lifespan. Squirrel behavior includes caching food, hibernation, and vocal communication.
What is the mating season for squirrels in New Hampshire?
Squirrel behavior in New Hampshire includes a mating season that typically occurs twice a year, in late winter/early spring and late summer. Reproduction patterns vary by species, but most squirrels mate during these times.