Saturday, June 18, 2011

Baby red squirrels...

are out and around these days, as are baby gray squirrels and chipmunks. Often the youngsters still hang around together and may even still follow their parents though the parents are pretty much leading them to find their own food and no longer feeding them directly.
Here are 3 little red squirrels chasing and playing in a nearby tree....there were 4 altogether but I don't think I got a picture of the 4 that wasn't a complete blur.
Young mammals tend to look sleeker than the adults, which is quite different from young birds that often look larger and puffed out. Mammals grow to full size pretty quickly, depending on the species, of course, but even young coyotes and foxes are standing almost as tall as mom and dad. They are just quite a bit thinner--their muscles and fat have not kept up with their skeletal growth quite yet so they look like the sort of gawky adolescents they are.
Also, when you see squirrels hanging around together and playing like this, you can be pretty sure they are young ones. Older squirrels have other things on their mind...although you will probably still see parent squirrels watching out for the young ones for another few weeks or so. At your feeders you may be noticing an increase of squirrels. Look for the skinnier tails on young gray squirrels.

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