Uniquely adapted for life in the treetops, tree squirrels are a
common sight throughout North America, often entertaining to watch
yet sometimes judged as nuisances by their human neighbors. Their
sharp incisors, ideal for opening hard seed casings, never stop
growing, and their hind feet can rotate 180 degrees, allowing them
to scamper head first down tree trunks. They belong to an ancient
mammal family of rodents, and their form and structure have been so
unchanged over the past five million years that biologists call
them living fossils, yet they remain one of the least understood
groups of wild mammals.
Written with clarity and wit by two top scientists, North
American Tree Squirrels illuminates the everyday lives of gray and
fox squirrels, the two most dominant types of tree squirrels of the
eastern United States. Drawing on more than twenty years of
research, Michael A. Steele and John L. Koprowski detail the
behavior, reproduction, diet, physiology, and habitat use of these
engaging rodents, as well as their complex interdependent
relationships with seed-producing trees. The authors compare and
contrast tree squirrels with other members of their family,
including ground squirrels, chipmunks, marmots, and prairie dogs.
In addition to scientific revelations, the authors describe their
fieldwork, from the pitfalls of patrolling forests at night in
order to check nest boxes to the challenges of fitting squirrels
with radio-tracking collars.
Both professional biologists and curious amateur naturalists
will find North American Tree Squirrels entertaining, useful, and
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