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Sculptures by Phyllis Bone

Red Squirrel, Sciurus vulgaris

Suborder Sciurognathi

Tree squirrels live and make their nests (dreys) in trees. They are very good at climbing and jumping and their toes, with their sharp claws are well adapted for clinging to tree trunks. They feed mainly on seeds but will take a wide variety of foods, including birds’ eggs.
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The teeth and jaw muscles of squirrels are relatively unspecialised and they have one or two premolars in addition to the three molars (Dental formula: I 1/1, C 0/0, P3/2, M 3/3). Cheek teeth are rooted and low crowned.

The post-cranial skeleton is adapted for climbing and leaping. The bones are light, but the hind limbs are long and disproportionately heavy. The feet are plantigrade with long toes (reduced thumbs) and long curved claws. The tail is used for balance, signalling and thermoregulation.

Squirrels have sharp eyesight and wide vision - the entire retina has the sensitivity most mammals possess only within a small area (fovea).