There are a variety of squirrel
species in the greater Portland Oregon area. The common squirrels
that cause the most conflicts with humans include the Western Grey
Squirrel, the Eastern Grey Squirrel, the Douglas' Squirrel, the
Northern Flying Squirrel, the California Ground Squirrel, and the
Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel.
The Squirrel family isn't limited to just the tree, ground and
flying squirrels, it also includes some chipmunks, woodchucks,
marmots and prairie dogs.
Squirrels have 4 incisors in the front of their mouths that they
use to gnaw, shred, and break into all sorts of things (wood, egg
shells, nuts, berries, seeds, metals, etc). They have four toes on
their front feet and five toes on their hind feet. All of the toes
have well formed nails for digging and climbing.
Most squirrels are diurnal and active in the early day and late
afternoon/evening, taking a siesta during the mid-day hours.
Species In and Around Portland, Oregon:
Tree Squirrels - Tree squirrels, the most familiar group to many,
includes the gray squirrels, Douglas', and the flying squirrels.
They have long bushy tails, athletic builds and a keen eye for
predators. Tree squirrels make their nets high off the ground
often in trees. They find attics to be well suited for living
quarters: an attic is warm, dry, and safe from predators.
Flying Squirrels - The flying squirrel does not really fly
but glides through the air from tree top to tree top using flaps
of skin that extend from their wrists to their ankles. The flap
enables them to get from place to place via air travel but does
hinder their movement on the ground. It's bulky and prevents them
from being able to run so they walk and hop when they are on the
ground which doesn't happen often. Flying squirrels are
nocturnal, so they may exist in the neighborhood and nobody may know.
Ground Squirrels - Often a bit bigger (weight wise) than the tree
squirrels, they have less fur on their tails. They make their homes by
tunneling into the ground. Each squirrel has their own entrance into a
network of tunnels. Just because they are known as ground squirrels
doesn't mean that they are incapable of climbing a tree – which some
do just as well as the tree squirrels.
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