MUMMY FIND JUNE 2017 - This is the best specimen of the pair of squirrels that were preserved in the roof sawdust insulation. Workers found the remains while preparing the old roof timbers to take slates. Sawdust was used as an insulator for keeping the buildings cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Copyright photograph July 3 2017 all rights reserved Lime Park Heritage Trust.





Mummified remains of a squirrel that lived in Lime Park, Herstmonceux



MUMMIFIED - The squirrel seen above was not as well preserved as the other, and before we could get the pair safely stored, a fox or other animal took this one. The other (at the head of this page) will be preserved and on display in a glass case, as being the longest resident (albeit deceased) in the property to date, almost one of the family. Why any animal would want to eat a mummified squirrel is anybody's guess. Is there any food value is a mummy? We replaced the sawdust with regular loft insulation. Copyright © photograph 23 June 2017. You will need the permission of Lime Park Heritage Trust to use this picture. All rights reserved.







Squirrels are generally small animals, ranging in size from the African pygmy squirrel at 7–10 cm (2.8–3.9 in) in length and just 10 g (0.35 oz) in weight, to the Laotian giant flying squirrel at 1.08 m (3 ft 7 in) in length and the Alpine marmot, which weighs from 5 to 8 kg (11 to 18 lb). Squirrels typically have slender bodies with bushy tails and large eyes. In general, their fur is soft and silky, although much thicker in some species than others. The color of squirrels is highly variable between—and often even within—species.

In general, the hind limbs are longer than the fore limbs, and they have four or five toes on each paw. Their paws include an often poorly developed thumb, and have soft pads on the undersides. Unlike most mammals, Tree squirrels can descend a tree head-first. They do so by rotating their ankles 180 degrees so the hind paws are backward-pointing and can grip the tree bark.

Squirrels live in almost every habitat from tropical rainforest to semiarid desert, avoiding only the high polar regions and the driest of deserts. They are predominantly herbivorous, subsisting on seeds and nuts, but many will eat insects and even small vertebrates.





Giant squirrel skull



SKULL - This is the skull of a giant squirrel. Like other rodents, squirrels have four front teeth that grow fast enough so that they don't wear down from the constant gnawing to survive. Tree squirrels are the types most commonly recognized, often seen gracefully scampering and leaping from branch to branch. Other species are ground squirrels that live in burrow or tunnel systems, where some hibernate during the winter season.





As their large eyes indicate, in general squirrels have an excellent sense of vision, which is especially important for tree-dwelling species. They also have very versatile and sturdy claws for grasping and climbing. Many also have a good sense of touch, with vibrissae on their heads and limbs.

The teeth of sciurids follow the typical rodent pattern, with large gnawing incisors that grow throughout life, and grinding cheek teeth set back behind a wide gap, or diastema.






JUNE 2017 - Ground squirrels eat nuts, leaves, roots, seeds, and other plants. They also catch and eat small animals, such as insects and caterpillars. These small mammals must always be wary of predators because they are tasty morsels with few natural defenses, save flight. Sometimes groups of ground squirrels work together to warn each other of approaching danger with a whistling call.

Tree squirrels are commonly seen everywhere from woodlands to city parks. Though they are terrific climbers, these squirrels do come to the ground in search of fare such as nuts, acorns, berries, and flowers. They also eat bark, eggs, or baby birds. Tree sap is a delicacy to some species.





Many juvenile squirrels die in the first year of life. Adult squirrels can have a lifespan of 5 to 10 years in the wild. Some can survive 10 to 20 years in captivity.

Squirrels are members of the family Sciuridae, a family that includes small or medium-size rodents. The squirrel family includes tree squirrels, ground squirrels, chipmunks, marmots (including woodchucks), flying squirrels, and prairie dogs amongst other rodents. Squirrels are indigenous to the Americas, Eurasia, and Africa, and were introduced by humans to Australia. The earliest known squirrels date from the Eocene period and are most closely related to the mountain beaver and to the dormouse among other living rodent families.





BBC nature life Sciuridae

National Geographic animals mammals quirrels





MAKING HAY - The heartwarming sight of a British farmer mowing tall grass in the field adjacent to Herstmonceux Museum - a sight that our squirrels may not have seen since diesel powered tractors were not around when they were alive. This grass was sun dried and baled in the space of a few hot days in the summer of 2017. Copyright © photograph June 2017. You will need the permission of Lime Park Heritage Trust to use this picture. All rights reserved.





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