Speedy Abert's squirrels build treetop nests

Outdoors

By James Taulman
Posted 11/27/19

Abert's squirrel (Sciurus aberti), also called the tassel-eared squirrel, inhabits dry ponderosa pine forests of New Mexico and extends up into Colorado, Utah and northern Arizona. There are four separate populations of Abert's squirrels across their range, all occurring in areas where ponderosa pine forests are present.

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Speedy Abert's squirrels build treetop nests

Outdoors

Posted

Abert's squirrel (Sciurus aberti), also called the tassel-eared squirrel, inhabits dry ponderosa pine forests of New Mexico and extends up into Colorado, Utah and northern Arizona. There are four separate populations of Abert's squirrels across their range, all occurring in areas where ponderosa pine forests are present.

Both sexes are light to dark gray and have large ears; the males have tufts of fur extending off the tips. They are also distinguished by the orange fur patch on the lower back and white belly fur.

These squirrels eat a variety of plant foods and carrion, preferring pine seeds, but they don't store food in caches like other tree squirrels. Active year-round, they build a spherical nest high in the forest canopy and breed in summer.

Hawks are known to prey on Abert's squirrels and other predators like bobcats, foxes and coyotes may also take some as they forage on the ground. The squirrels are very fast runners and climbers, and the young and older adults are the most vulnerable to mammal predators. The populations are considered stable and not under threat.

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