You may have noticed a lot of squirrel activity over the last several weeks. Like us, squirrels also need to get ready for the long winter.
Not all squirrels hibernate during the winter, only ground squirrels do. Ground squirrels live on or in the ground and not in trees.
Gray squirrels, however, sleep in tree nests during the winter and only venture out during the morning and evening. Instead of hibernating, they rely on sheltered nests or dens in trees, fat reserves, and stored food to survive the long, cold winter.
You may have noticed these huge impressive nests when you look high up into trees this time of year. With the leaves off the trees, these nests are visible right now.
Gray squirrels prepare for the winter by storing acorns, nuts, berries, and tree bark in shallow holes near the trees. They also prepare by maximizing their food consumption and body mass.
If your landscaping and mulch look like mine right now, there are a lot of holes in it. Tree squirrels dig holes in mulch or soil to hide and bury acorns and nuts for winter food.
Here's an interesting tidbit. You can tell the difference between a gray squirrel and a ground squirrel by looking at the tails.
The gray tree squirrels have bushier tails to help them balance while running up and down trees. Ground squirrels have shorter, less bushy tails, and their fur is brown-gray with gray and white dots.
Take a minute to stop and watch a squirrel this time of year. You'll be able to see them work very hard. Like us, squirrels need to be ready for the long, cold, and snowy winter.