What Looks Like a Squirrel But Isn’t
What looks like a squirrel but isn’ t can be confusing, but there are a few ways to distinguish the two species. To start, look for bushy, fluffy tails. A thin tail with visible fur and a hairless tail suggest mice or rats. A wave-like motion is a hallmark of a squirrel, while a normal running motion indicates a mouse. Here are some other tips to distinguish between a squirrel and a kangaroo.
Pedetes are a genus of rodents that resembles both squirrels and kangaroos
A pedet is a large rodent found in Eastern and Southern Africa. It is a member of the pedetidae family and is closely related to both squirrels and kangaroos. Pedetes are nocturnal and live in burrows, feeding on vegetation, roots, and arthropods.
The genus includes seven extant species, spread across three genera and nine taxa. A pedetidae’s appearance is similar to that of a squirrel, though its coloring and appearance is different. It is brownish-red in color. Its large skulls contain long ears and large eyes, and its tragus (ear canal) can close when it burrows. Pedetes are known to live in trees of economic value and are prey for bobcats and wolves.
Mexican fox squirrel
A tree squirrel with a cuddly demeanor, the Mexican fox is the largest climbing squirrel in North America. Its scientific name is Sciurus nayaritensis, and it is found in the Chiricahua Mountains in southeastern Arizona. Though they are small and look like squirrels, the Mexican fox squirrel is not common outside of its native range. Its coloration varies widely depending on the region it lives in.
A gray-colored squirrel, the Collie’s squirrel, lives in subalpine canyons. It feeds on nuts and fruits, and it nests in tree trunks. Another small squirrel, the Deppe’s, lives in southern Mexico and Central America. It is a medium-sized animal that weighs close to 700 grams and measures up to 30 cm long. It is not territorial, and it usually lives solitary lives, but it gathers in a clump during mating season.
Amazon dwarf squirrel
This chipmunk-sized, tree-squirrel-like creature is native to South America. Its habitat includes mixed deciduous and coniferous forests. It likes to eat pine seeds and nuts, and it stockpiles food to eat later. The Amazon dwarf squirrel lives in the forests of southern and central America. You can see it in your neighborhood if you live near an Amazon rainforest.
The Amazon dwarf is small, with a head-body length of about 260-270mm and a tail about eight to sixteen centimeters long. It weighs between 86 and 132 grams. It has a coat of grayish-brown fur that fades to a yellowish brown on its underparts. The head is covered with a distinctive patch of pale yellow behind the ears. Its tail has faint yellowish bands and a white frosting.
13-lined ground squirrel
The thirteen-lined ground squirrel is an important prey species for carnivores, snakes, and raptors. They also host a variety of ectoparasites. The thirteen-lined ground squirrel molts twice a year, with males emerging from hibernation before females. They then mate several times with the female before splitting off to find other females. Breeding is usually done over a period of nine minutes, during which time the female gives birth to one young.
In addition to the thirteen-lined ground-squirrel, the state of Nebraska is home to four other species of ground-squirrels. Woodchucks are the largest ground-squirrel species in the state, and they prefer mixed landscapes. Franklin’s ground-squirrels are smaller and prefer abandoned fields and tall grass prairies.
Mearn’s mountain squirrel
Mearn’s mountain-squirrels are endemic to the Himalayan Mountains and are often confused with Northern Flying Squirrels. The two species look similar, with brown overtones on the upper part of their bodies and grayish underparts. Although they are closely related, the Mearn’s mountain squirrel is not a member of the same family as the aforementioned species.
The Mearn’s mountain-squirrel is small, with a hind foot length of 44-60 mm. It probably disperses conifer seeds by carrying cones to their caches. It typically leaves its nest in late summer, but it does not migrate far. Its young remain in the nest until they are about two-thirds the size of an adult.
Jessica Watson is a PHD holder from the University of Washington. She studied behavior and interaction between squirrels and has presented her research in several wildlife conferences including TWS Annual Conference in Winnipeg.