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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Squirrels in the Arb

Many of you are probably aware of the prevalence of squirrels on this campus. They are our entertaining friends, leaping from trees, burying acorns and  scavenging the crumbs of our dinners outside on the Bald Spot. These are the common gray squirrels, which we see everywhere in grassy environments. If you are a regular visitor to the Arboretum, you may have also spotted American red squirrels, which are smaller  red squirrels that we often hear making their buzzing alarm calls as we walk by. Less known are the other two major squirrels in the Arboretum, the fox squirrel and the thirteen-lined ground squirrel. 

The thirteen-lined ground squirrel is a burrowing squirrel that lives in grasslands and prairies throughout the Great Plains in the United States and Canada. It is abundant in the prairie of  the Lower Arb. They are smaller than Gray squirrels and can be spotted by the black and white alternating stripes on their backs. Often when trekking in the Lower Arb, it is common to spot little holes in the ground, which often are ground squirrel dens. Fox squirrels are also common. They are the largest of the squirrels, weighing up to 2.5 pounds. They have a unique red and black fur pattern and their tail is around half of their length. 

There also exist debates whether the southern flying squirrel lives in the Arboretum. Southern flying squirrels are known for gliding between trees in a manner that resembles flying. They are nocturnal animals and often evade people. The Carleton trail cameras have yet to spot any flying squirrels, despite the Arboretum being within  flying squirrels’ range. They are considered to be common animals, but because they have never been spotted, the mystery continues whether they are present in the Arb.  

A Red Squirrel (Joanne Bouknight)
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