Tree squirrels include over a hundred species that are found on all continents except Antarctica, and are the members of the squirrel family (Sciuridae) most commonly referred to as "squirrels". They do not form a single natural, or monophyletic, group, but instead are related to the various other animals in the squirrel family, including ground squirrels, flying squirrels, marmots, and chipmunks. The defining characteristic that is used to determine which of the various species of Sciuridae are tree squirrels is therefore not so dependent on their physiology, but their habitat. Tree squirrels live mostly among trees, as opposed to other squirrels that live in burrows in the ground or among rocks. However, there is one exception to this rule, as physiological distinction does make a difference in regard to flying squirrels, who also make their home in trees, but have unique physical characteristics that separate them from their tree squirrel cousins (specifically, special flaps of skin that act as glider wings, allowing them to "fly").
The most well known genus of tree squirrels is Sciurus, which includes the Eastern gray squirrel of North America (and which was introduced to Great Britain), the red squirrel of Eurasia, and the North American fox squirrel, among many others. Since many tree squirrel species have readily adapted to human-altered environments (including intensely cultivated farms and urban cities), and because they are mostly diurnal (active during the daytime), when most people are outdoors to see them, they are perhaps the most familiar members of the rodent family to most humans. In some larger cities, they are often the only wild animals (not counting birds) that most people ever see.
Other articles related to "squirrel, tree squirrel, squirrels":
... The Andean squirrel (Sciurus pucheranii) is a tree squirrel endemic to Colombia ... The Andean squirrel is a typical tree squirrel, in its general proportions resembling the Eastern grey squirrel of North America ... The tail fur is darker than that on the body, and some Andean squirrels also have a distinctive dark stripe down their flanks, and/or a black patch on the back of the head ...
... A decline of the red squirrel and the rise of the Eastern gray squirrel, an import from North America, has been widely remarked upon in British popular culture ... Evidence also shows that gray squirrels are vectors of the squirrel parapoxvirus for which no vaccine is currently available, and which is deadly to red squirrels but does ... Currently the red squirrel only survives in a few isolated areas of the UK, coniferous forests in Scotland, and in England's Formby, the Lake District, Brownsea Island, and the Isle of Wight ...
Famous quotes containing the words squirrel and/or tree:
“The squirrel hoards nuts and the bee gathers honey, without knowing what they do, and they are thus provided for without selfishness or disgrace.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882)
“There is hardly an American male of my generation who has not at one time or another tried to master the victory cry of the great ape as it issued from the androgynous chest of Johnny Weissmuller, to the accompaniment of thousands of arms and legs snapping during attempts to swing from tree to tree in the backyards of the Republic.”
—Gore Vidal (b. 1925)