116 Market Street, Lewisburg PA 17837 570-245-8518

Squirrels

A red squirrel with nuts in his hand, standing on a branch
Jacob D.

This week’s Bonus Blog was written by Jacob D., a Brookies Alumni! He talks about the different types of squirrels native to Pennsylvania, as well as their habits and benefits for the state.

Squirrels start hunting for food on the forest floor in early fall. Squirrels are always on the move. They jump on stumps, run along logs, climb up trees, and leap from branch to branch, all while gathering nuts and seeds for food. Squirrels are known to raid birdfeeders as well. Pennsylvania has many species of squirrel. There are Gray, Red, and Fox squirrels.

Squirrels start hunting for food on the forest floor in early fall. Squirrels are always on the move. They jump on stumps, run along logs, climb up trees, and leap from branch to branch, all while gathering nuts and seeds for food. Squirrels are known to raid birdfeeders as well. Pennsylvania has many species of squirrel. There are Gray, Red, and Fox squirrels.

Gray Squirrels are most common in Pennsylvania. They prefer large deciduous forests, but may also be found in urban areas. Red Squirrels or Pine Squirrels, as they’re often called, live in evergreen forests. They often live amongst Eastern Hemlocks and White Pines. Red Squirrels are much smaller than Grays. Fox Squirrels are the largest squirrels in Pennsylvania. They frequent large deciduous forests and farmland. Fox Squirrels are much larger than the average Gray Squirrel. Black squirrels, similar to Gray Squirrels, are uncommon in most of Pennsylvania, but occasionally found in the state.

Gun cartridges, yellow and red, all lined up in a row. Two small bronze ones are on the end.
Squirrel hunting cartridges (left to right) 22LR, 17HMR, .410, 20 gauge, 12 guage.

Squirrel season opens in mid-October and ends at the end of February with a break during deer season. Squirrels are a great game for young hunters and experienced hunters alike. Many hunters use shotguns like .410, 20 gauge, and 12 gauge shotguns. Hunters looking for more of a challenge may use rifles like 17HMR, 22LR, and 22 magnum.

Since squirrels are constantly moving they’re difficult to harvest using a rifle. Squirrels bury nuts and seeds, but sometimes forget where they hid them. Squirrels are credited with replanting many of Pennsylvania’s trees after logging destroyed most of our forests. Squirrels, like other native species, are important to many of Pennsylvania’s ecosystems. They are food for many animals including hawks. I enjoy watching them scurry about, gathering food and defending their territory. Squirrels are small but very interesting creatures.

All photos in the post were taken by the author.