Squirrels are fascinating creatures and are an important part of many habitats. They have become a beloved character in many fairy tales, movies, and songs. Despite their small size, squirrels are fiercely territorial and will fight animals much larger than them, including humans. Most squirrels are active during the day and can be seen running in short bursts while flicking their tails. These rodents can make a wide variety of noises, ranging from simple chatter to complex vocal alarms. Squirrels use these sounds to communicate with each other and with predators. Male squirrels use vocalization to attract a female during mating season, infant squirrels chirp and yelp to call their mothers, and some species of squirrels use their quills to sound alarm calls when predators are near.
Although it is rare to see a group of squirrels together, if you do come across one it is likely that they are family members. A group of squirrels is referred to as a dray or a scurry, which is an Old English term that means troop. Other collective nouns for squirrels include a squad, a colony, and a gang.
Squirrels are known for their bushy tails, large eyes, and ability to jump long distances. They are usually herbivores, but some species will also eat insects. Most squirrels live in trees, but ground dwelling squirrels can be found in bushes and undergrowth. They build a drey, or nest, from branches or in the forks and crotches of nut-bearing trees.