Squirrel is intelligent, but threatened by many pitfalls



by LORENZO CIOTTI

Squirrel is intelligent, but threatened by many pitfalls

Squirrel is intelligent, but threatened by many pitfalls. The squirrel populations are strongly threatened by the uncontrolled spread of a species, the Sciurus carolinensis, or gray squirrel, originally from America: from here, in the twentieth century, it was brought acroos Europe.

Possessing a higher reproductive rate and greater adaptability, the American rodent is replacing the red squirrel in areas where the two species come into contact. This is exactly what is happening in Italy, Piedmont and Liguria, where the thinning of the red species is now well evident.

A program of radical elimination of the gray species, proposed by some ecologists, was however opposed by animal rights activists, opposed to such a line of action. Depending on the natural environment or the shape of the body, squirrels can be of three types: arboreal, as they live on trees; of earth, as they live in burrows dug into the ground, or in tunnels to glide, and thus pass, in flight, between one tree and another.

Squirrel is intelligent, but threatened by many pitfalls

Squirrels feed on fruit, dried fruit, nuts, hazelnuts, chestnuts, acorns and mushrooms; they stock up on these foods during the summer season, storing them in well-hidden places, in order to have them in the winter or when they are scarce, but then forget about them, so they disperse the scattered plants.

They supplement their diet with insects, caterpillars and birds. Predators of squirrels are mainly the marten, the wild cat and various species of birds of prey. Squirrel has great adaptability, looking for and finding food.

The squirrel is a great observer and has a strong memory, useful for remembering where it hides its small food supplies, even after months. Squirrel has great adaptability, looking for and finding food. The squirrel is a great observer and has a strong memory, useful for remembering where it hides its small food supplies, even after months.

Squirrels are likely on par with the domestic pig, ranking first among land animals. Of course, squirrels have the advantage of having skilled hands to perform their clever tricks. Squirrels can remember exactly where they buried 3,000 different acorns months ago. Studies show that a squirrel would have the natural intelligence of a five-year-old human.