Squirrels: The Animal Answer Guide

Squirrels: The Animal Answer Guide

by Richard W. Thorington Jr., Katie E. Ferrell

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Overview

Did you know that a groundhog is really a type of squirrel? That squirrels control their body temperature with their tails? That most squirrels have yellow-tinted eye lenses that work like sunglasses to reduce glare? That tree squirrels can turn their hind feet completely around when climbing down a tree head-first? In Squirrels: The Animal Answer Guide, Richard W. Thorington Jr. and Katie Ferrell unveil the fascinating world of one of the "most watched" mammals on the planet.

The diversity of squirrels is astounding. There are 278 species that inhabit all continents except Antarctica and Australia—varying in size from the lumbering 18-pound gray marmot to the graceful pygmy flying squirrel that is smaller than most mice. In many parts of the world they readily share human habitats, joining us for lunch in a city park, raiding our bird feeders, and sneaking into college dorm rooms through open windows. Reviled as pests or loved as an endearing amusement, squirrels have played important roles in trade, literature, and mythology.

Thorington and Ferrell cover every aspect of this diverse animal family, from the first squirrels of 36 million years ago to the present day. With over one hundred photographs and an intuitive question-and-answer format, this authoritative and engaging guide sheds light on a common mammal that is anything but commonplace.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780801884030
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date: 08/28/2006
Series: The Animal Answer Guides: Q&A for the Curious Naturalist
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 455,142
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.52(d)

About the Author

Richard W. Thorington, Jr. is a curator of mammals at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. He is the co-author of Squirrels of the World, published by Johns Hopkins University Press. For many years Katie Ferrell was Dr. Thorington's research assistant at the Smithsonian.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
1. Introducing Squirrels
What are squirrels?
How many kinds of squirrels are there?
Where do squirrels live?
Why are there no flying or ground squirrels in South America?
How are squirrels classified?
What is the current classification of squirrels?
What characterizes the major groups of squirrels
When did squirrels evolve?
What is the oldest fossil squirrel?
2. Form and Function
What are the largest and smallest squirrels?
How fast does a squirrel's heart beat?
Can squirrels see color?
Do all squirrels have cheek pouches?
Can squirrels swim?
How far can squirrels jump?
Do squirrels fly?
What are the largest and smallest flying squirrels?
How do you make a flying squirrel?
How far can flying squirrels glide?
How can you determine whether a fossil squirrel was a tree squirrel, a flying squirrel, or a ground squirrel?
3. Coat Color and Squirrel Genetics
What species are the black squirrels I see?
What species is the red squirrel?
What causes the different coat colors of squirrels?
How are hair colors determined genetically?
What about patterns of coat color?
Are there age-related differences in coat color?
Are there seasonal differences in coat color?
Is there much geographic variation in squirrel species?
4. Squirrel Behavior
Are squirrels social?
Do squirrels fight?
How smart are squirrels?
Do squirrels play?
Do squirrels talk?
How do squirrels avoid predators?
5. Squirrel Ecology
Where do squirrels sleep?
Do squirrels migrate?
How many squirrel species coexist in a forest?
Why are there so many more species of squirrels in African and Asian forests?
How do squirrels survive in the desert?
How do squirrels survive the winter?
What is hibernation?
Do squirrels have enemies?
Why do squirrels commit infanticide?
Do squirrels get sick?
How do squirrels influence vegetation?
6. Reproduction and Development
How do squirrels reproduce?
How long are female squirrels pregnant?
Where do mother squirrels give birth?
How many babies do squirrels have?
Are all littermates equally related?
How long do female squirrels nurse their young?
How fast do squirrels grow?
How long do squirrels live?
7. Food and Feeding
What do squirrels eat?
How do squirrels open hard nuts?
Do all squirrels bury their food?
How does the squirrel decide what food to store?
How do squirrels fi nd the food they have buried?
8. Squirrels and Humans
Do squirrels make good pets?
Should people feed squirrels?
Do squirrels feel pain?
What do I do if I find an injured or orphaned squirrel?
How can I become a better observer of squirrels?
How do I know whether I have flying squirrels in my backyard?
Why are squirrels important?
9. Squirrel Problems (from a human viewpoint)
Are squirrels pests?
How do I keep squirrels away from my... ?
Are squirrels vectors of human disease?
10. Human Problems (from a squirrel's viewpoint)
Are squirrels endangered?
Will squirrels be affected by global warming?
Are squirrels ever invasive species?
Do people hunt and eat squirrels?
Are squirrel-hair brushes actually made of squirrel hair?
Why do so many squirrels get hit by cars?
11. Squirrels in Stories and Literature
What roles do squirrels play in religion and mythology?
What do squirrels have to do with the Cinderella story?
What roles do squirrels play in popular culture?
How are squirrels incorporated into poetry?
How are squirrels incorporated into literature?
12. "Squirrelology"
Which species are best known?
Which species are least known?
How do scientists recognize individual squirrels?
Appendix: Squirrels of the World
Bibliography
Index

What People are Saying About This

"A delightful read, well written, well organized, and well illustrated. This is the only such account of the entire family of Sciuridae. As one who has spent most of his career studying squirrels, I was quite surprised at how much I don't know and how much I learned from this book! Thorington and Ferrell have pulled off an extremely thorough account that will be of tremendous interest to the general public and many scientists alike."

Michael Steele

A delightful read, well written, well organized, and well illustrated. This is the only such account of the entire family of Sciuridae. As one who has spent most of his career studying squirrels, I was quite surprised at how much I don't know and how much I learned from this book! Thorington and Ferrell have pulled off an extremely thorough account that will be of tremendous interest to the general public and many scientists alike.

Customer Reviews