Meet Our Newest Educational Ambassador
Eastern Grey Squirrel – PWRC’s Newest Educational Ambassador
By Allison Kolynchuk
We welcome an eastern grey squirrel ambassador to our education team. Not only is this little guy unique to PWRC as our first-ever squirrel educational ambassador, but he is also unique among grey squirrels.
He was admitted to us as a juvenile in late May 2017, when he was found having fallen from a tree. Although he had no injuries from his fall, it soon became apparent that he was no normal squirrel. His body is stocky, with chunky limbs and a large head. His face appears to be squished inwards since birth, like that of a pug dog. His mannerisms, too, are very docile.
He was weaned successfully of milk formula then transitioned to rodent pellets, seeds, and nuts. Now, although he is almost of adult age, he still retains many juvenile body traits. It is not known why he looks and acts differently from normal grey squirrels. However, his condition would make survival in the wild extremely difficult.
His agility is less than a normal grey squirrel’s, so he would not be able to forage well for nuts or be alert enough to avoid danger. He looks forward to working as an educational ambassador to represent the many positive ways squirrels impact our natural environments.
Eastern grey squirrels are often brought to PWRC as orphans who fall from their nest. Mating season begins in early spring and females may have multiple litters throughout the summer. A litter consists of a few pups who are born hairless with eyes and ears closed.
The mother protects them until around two months of age before they go off on their own to make new home ranges. A mother and her pups occupy large leafy nests in tree canopies called “dreys”. To build the drey, grey squirrels first construct a platform of broken branches from hardwood trees. They layer compacted leaves, grass, moss and pine needles on top of the platform to form a base.
A finished drey takes on a spherical shape once the outer shell is complete. An entrance hole faces the trunk of the tree. Sometimes, an additional escape route will be added to avoid predators. The average drey lasts for a year or two. Once abandoned, the remnants can remain visible for years in tree canopies and are sometimes used as nests for birds.
To read our full September 2017 newsletter, click here!