Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Amazing Spectacular Squirrel Tail

There is little doubt that the most beautiful and instantly recognizable physical characteristic of the squirrel is its tail. Tree squirrels especially are endowed with a long, thick, bushy tail, often equal in length to the rest of the squirrel's body, that even many squirrel haters can't help but grudgingly admire. The squirrel sitting on a branch in its "classic" pose--on its hind feet, a nut in its paws, tail in the "S"-curve over its back--may, for many city and suburb dwellers, be the most familiar image of wildlife. The squirrel's tail is such a stunning feature that back in 1899, one writer noted that "no one can see him put it into such graceful curves along with his delightful postures, without feeling that he is posing for esthetic effect."

"Classic" squirrel pose

The tail is, for the squirrel, much more than a nice decoration. In fact, it serves more functions than most people would likely ever imagine. In Squirrel Book, his book of squirrel essays and stories, Eugene Kinkead noted that the squirrel's tail
serves as a sunshade; as a blanket in cold or stormy weather; as an expressive aid to communication...; as a counterbalance in effecting marvelously quick turns; as an aerial rudder when its owner leaps from branch to branch, and as a parachute to soften the impact of occasional falls.
 Protection from the elements is one of the more obvious uses of the squirrel's tail. The very name "squirrel" comes from two Greek words, skia, meaning "shadow," and oura, meaning "tail." For some ground squirrel species living in hot climates, such as the South African ground squirrel, this function is especially important. Using the tail as a parasol to provide shade from the sun can lower the temperature by as much as five degrees Fahrenheit, enabling the squirrels to search for food even in the midday heat.

South African ground squirrel in the
shade of its tail

The tail can also provide protection against cold weather and precipitation.

Eastern gray squirrel using its tail for
protection from the snow

The tail helps keep its owner comfortable in less obvious ways, as well. Squirrels can unconsciously regulate the blood flow to the tail to aid in thermoregulation, or the control of the animal's body temperature. A long tail, which has a large surface area per unit of length, tends to lose heat rapidly. In hot weather, the squirrel increases the amount of blood flow to the tail, dissipating more heat and helping it to cool off. In cold weather, the amount of blood flow to the tail is reduced, conserving more heat and helping the squirrel to stay warm.

There is another important use for the heating of the tail: to help protect the squirrel against predators, especially snakes. Many species of squirrels, especially ground squirrels, live in areas where they are threatened by venomous snakes. One strategy that the squirrels have to protect themselves is tail flagging, which involves facing the snake directly, and waving the tail rapidly back and forth. At the  same time, the squirrel is increasing the blood flow to the tail, causing it to heat up. Snakes such as rattlers and cobras hunt more by detecting heat than by sight. Tail flagging together with the heating of the tail causes the squirrel to look larger and more threatening to the snake.

California ground squirrel tail flagging
at a rattlesnake

The tail also helps tree squirrels to maintain balance so that they can move about quickly and confidently among the branches high above the ground. It can even act as a counterbalance while the squirrel is resting or eating.

Indian giant squirrel with
tail as a counterbalance

As important as the tail is to a squirrel, it's not surprising that squirrels put some time and effort into taking care of their tails. To anyone who pays attention while watching the wildlife in their neighborhood, a squirrel stopping to groom its tail should be a common sight. Some observers have even made the mistaken assumption that a squirrel was using its tail as a napkin to wipe its face, when in fact it was grooming the tail.

South African ground squirrel grooming its tail


14 comments:

  1. Excellent article. By far, the best I've seen for general audiences on why a squirrel has a bushy tail. I love the pictures you chose. Very illustrative.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great pictures! We just saw a squirrel with his tail covering his body and were wondering what it meant. This was great information too.

    ReplyDelete
  3. some squirrels have bushy tails and others have long narrow tails. do anybody know why and some are different color

    ReplyDelete
  4. I too have recently noticed that some at least some of the local grey squirrels have thin tails now. Does anyone know why this is.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I've noticed that some around my area, use it as camouflage to hide from hawks.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Wow, I did not know that. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi everyone,
    Real & Powerful Love spell caster to get your Ex lover back fast online.
    I'm so excited.
    My ex-boyfriend is back after a breakup,I’m extremely happy that will are living together again.
    My name is Silvia Soulez
    My boyfriend of a 4yr just broke up with me and am 30 weeks pregnant.I have cried my self to sleep most of the nights and don’t seem to concentrate during lectures sometimes I stay awake almost all night thinking about him and start to cry all over again.Because of this I end up not having energy for my next day’s classes ,my attendance has dropped and am always in uni and on time.Generally he is a very nice guy ,he ended it because he said we were arguing a lot and not getting along.He is right we’ve been arguing during the pregnancy a lot .After the break up I kept ringing him and telling him I will change.I am in love with this guy and he is the best guy I have ever been with.I’m still hurt and in disbelief when he said he didn’t have any romantic feelings towards me anymore that hurt me faster than a lethal syringe.He texts me now and then mainly to check up on how am doing with the pregnancy,he is supportive with it but it’s not fair on me, him texting me as I just want to grieve the pain and not have any stress due to the pregnancy.i was really upset and i needed help, so i searched for help online and I came across a website that suggested that Dr.Goodluck can help solve marital problems, restore broken relationships and so on. So, I felt I should give him a try. I contacted him and he told me what to do and i did it then he did a spell for me. 17 hours later, my bf came to me and apologized for the wrongs he did and promise never to do it again. Ever since then, everything has returned back to normal. I and my bf are living together happily again.. All thanks to Dr.Goodluck. If you have any problem contact Dr.Goodluck now and i guarantee you that he will help you.Email him at: goodluck05spellcaster@gmail.com
    Call or Whats-app him: +2348138654465
    or on his website. http://lovereunitingspell.webs.com

    ReplyDelete
  8. God bless Dr.Ekpiku for his marvelous work in my life, my name is Joyce Benson from Denver, I was diagnosed of HERPES since 2013 and I was taking my medications, I wasn't satisfied i needed to get the HERPES out of my system, I searched about some possible cure for HERPES i saw a comment about Dr Ekpiku how he cured HERPES with his herbal medicine, I contacted him and he guided me. I asked for solutions, he started the remedy for my health, he sent me the medicine through UPS delivery company. I took the medicine as prescribed by him and 11 days later i tested negative for HERPES, Dr.Ekpiku truly you are great, do you need his help also? Why don't you contact him through email (ekpikuspellhomeofgrace@gmail.com) or call him on +2348073673757 and you can also contact me to know more about him on my email Joycebenson731@gmail.com or text me +16506538578. DOCTOR Ekpiku CAN AS WELL CURE THE FOLLOWING DISEASE:- 1. HIV/AIDS 2. HERPES 3. CANCER 4. ALS 5. Hepatitis B 6. Diabetes 7. Athrux, 8. hydrophobia 9.hpv 10 pregnancy spell and bring back your ex back 11 scabies 12. STD.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Henderson Elizabeth
    Dr joy is a trust worthy spell caster and he will be of great help to you. I never believed in spell casting but After 4 years of marriage my husband left me because I lost my womb, and i was unable to give birth to children. I felt like my life has come to an end, and i almost committed suicide, i was emotionally down for a very long time, but thanks to this spell caster called Dr joy whom i met online after my friend Becky Ross told me how he also helped her to bring back her husband in less than 2 days. I believed her and decided to give Dr joy a try and i contacted him on his email joylovespell@gmail.com. and explained my problems to him. He laughed and told me that In less than 2 days, my Husband will come back to me again, and that he will restore my womb and i will give birth to children. At first i thought it was a joke but i took courage and believed as Dr joy has said and it did happen just as this Great spell caster said, My husband called me and was crying, begging for forgiveness. I forgive him and today i am so glad that all worries and problems has gone away, and we are even happier than before, another good news is that i am pregnant now, and very soon we will have our baby. Dr joy is really a gifted and a powerful spiritual man and i will not stop publishing him because he is a wonderful man. I advice you all If you have a problem and you are looking for a real and genuine spell caster to solve all your problems just Contact Dr joy on his email on joylovespell@gmail.com. because he will always help you to solve all problems. Once again thank you Dr joy. Thank you, thank you.



    ReplyDelete
  10. MY HEALTH IS RESTORE
    i am so happy to share this testimony with the world because generally there are so many doubts about the cure of hpv and cancer This is real take it serious, i am so happy that today i can give this testimony to the world and also help in saving life of people who has been condemned for death just as i was ,who will believe that herbs can cure hpv and cancer completely from the body, i never believe that this will work, i have spend a lot of money getting drugs from the hospital to keep me healthy, it got to a time that all i was waiting for is death to come because i was broke and i already have strong outbreaks from the hpv, one day i was going through the internet asking questions online just to know more about the latest development in the medical sector to see if there is still hope then i stumbled on a post about about this great man called Dr. Ehiagwina through a publicly made a testimony on how she was also cured of ALS by this herbal doctor who is well known for his strong ancient herbal practice at first i doubted both the woman and the doctor just as so many that see's this post would doubt because medically it has been proven impossible but later i decided to give him a try so i emailed him I did not believe him that much, I just wanted to give him a try, he replied my mail and Needed some Information about me, then I sent them to him, he prepare herbal medicine and sent it through Courier Service for delivery, he gave my details to the Courier Office. they told me that 3-5 days I will receive the package and after receiving it, i took the medicine as prescribed by him at the end of 13days that the medicine lasted, he told me to go to the hospital for a test, and i went, surprisingly after the test the doctor confirm me hpv negative and cancer disappear i thought it was a joke, i went to other hospitals and was also negative the doctors were speechless and i said it was a miracle, thank you sir for saving my life even if you cannot see this post i shall never stop testifying the impact you made in my life by restoring back my life when i was being stigmatized and even avoided by family and friends , I promise I will always testify of your good works. Dr. Ehiagwina contact: ehiagwinaherbalhome@gmail.com OR call +2348162084504 you can also add him on whatsapp.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Genuine online spell cater on urgent love spell to get your ex back, fix your broken marriage and stop divorce happylovespell2@gmail.com is the best dr to help you and restored back your happiness
    I just found out about my husband cheating on me with a co-worker! We’ve been married going on two years. 2kids. lots of amazing momments together. i want to leave, but i love him so much. all i can think about is how nothing stopped him. how he has to see her everyday because they work together. we are both still young and very attractive. but i want my husband, my friend, and the father of my beautiful children. how do i get past the thought of another woman having my husband? Not my fiancĂ©, not my boyfriend, but my husband! i still love him even though he thinks i want to leave i really want him to do better and stop me before i walk out! my husband told me that he doesn’t feel loved anymore, just because of this co-worker he has be cheating on with me that he wants a divorce, i was devastated, heart broken i begged him to listen to me that we can work it out like we always do, but he didn’t listen, he told me that he met someone that loves and understands him, i begged him to consider our kids but he’s did listen. he left and i was frustrated, i began searching for help and answers, then i heard about a man that can Cast a spell to remind him of all the things we have been through together, at first I was scared then i decided to give it a try, and like magic my husband came back, apology and begging for forgiveness, thanks to this man, I’m posting this to help people with
    similar issues. You can contact him for help too. happylovespell2@gmail.com or call and add him of on whatsapp number: +2348133873774

    ReplyDelete

  12. THE TRUE SOLUTION TO MARRIAGE , CHEATING , DIVORCE , AND RELATIONSHIP ISSUES I’m so excited! Thanks to Dr.lucky for bringing back my Ex-husband and brought great joy to me today! luckysolutiontempl@gmail.com is certainly the best spell caster online,if you need your Ex lover back fast!and his result is 100% guarantee.. After 12 years of marriage, me and my husband has been into one quarrel or the other until he finally left me and moved to California to be with another woman. I felt my life was over and my kids thought they would never see their father again. i tried to be strong just for the kids but i could not control the pains that torments my heart, my heart was filled with sorrows and pains because i was really in love with my husband. Every day and night i think of him and always wish he would come back to me, I was really upset and i needed help, so i searched for help online and I came across a website that suggested that Dr lucky can help get ex back fast. So, I felt I should give him a try. I contacted him and he told me what to do and i did it then he did a (Love spell) for me. 28 hours later, my husband really called me and told me that he miss me and the kids so much, So Amazing!! So that was how he came back that same day,with lots of love and joy,and he apologized for his mistake,and for the pain he caused me and the kids. Then from that day,our Marriage was now stronger than how it were before, All thanks to Dr lucky. he is so powerful and i decided to share my story on the internet that Dr.lucky real and powerful spell caster who i will always pray to live long to help his children in the time of trouble, if you are here and you need your Ex back or your husband moved to another woman, do not cry anymore, contact this powerful spell caster now. Here’s his contact: Email him at: luckysolutiontemple@gmail.com, you can also call him or add him on Whats-app: +2348070980389

    ReplyDelete
  13. My husband and I have been married for 3 and a half years. In June it will be 7 years that we have been a part of each other lives. Recently he found out about a guy I slept with when we were separated and I did not tell him about. Before we got married we both agreed to let everything out and start fresh. I didn’t tell him. I was embarrassed bc the guy and I never actually had sex…just everything that led up to it. not to mention it was my brothers best friend and a huge mistake. well it came out recently along with some lies. A friend told my husband I cheated on him and I have never cheated on my husband nor would I ever. He is convinced I am a cheater. we have 2 beautiful kids and all I have ever wanted is a happy family. my kids and my husband truly are my everything. I can not see a future where my husband is not in it. I want to do whatever I can to save my marriage but I feel my husband is already set on the divorce. I know I could have been a better wife to him….a wife he deserves but now I fee like I have realized it too late. I look at my kids and I hate myself for allowing myself to break my family apart. I know my husband is not perfect and he has hurt me tremendously these past 5 years we have been off and on but we made it through for a reason. I love him and I want to save my marriage, one day a friend of my introduce me to a spell caster online who lift me up gave me hope and with-in 2 days after his spell my husband who told me he needed a divorce, called me and take me back home to me i must say today we are happily as one big family again all thanks to Dr joy a father and a real spell caster.Contact email address joylovespell@gmail.com Call him +2347088404185.

    ReplyDelete
  14. My husband and I have been married for 3 and a half years. In June it will be 7 years that we have been a part of each other lives. Recently he found out about a guy I slept with when we were separated and I did not tell him about. Before we got married we both agreed to let everything out and start fresh. I didn’t tell him. I was embarrassed bc the guy and I never actually had sex…just everything that led up to it. not to mention it was my brothers best friend and a huge mistake. well it came out recently along with some lies. A friend told my husband I cheated on him and I have never cheated on my husband nor would I ever. He is convinced I am a cheater. we have 2 beautiful kids and all I have ever wanted is a happy family. my kids and my husband truly are my everything. I can not see a future where my husband is not in it. I want to do whatever I can to save my marriage but I feel my husband is already set on the divorce. I know I could have been a better wife to him….a wife he deserves but now I fee like I have realized it too late. I look at my kids and I hate myself for allowing myself to break my family apart. I know my husband is not perfect and he has hurt me tremendously these past 5 years we have been off and on but we made it through for a reason. I love him and I want to save my marriage, one day a friend of my introduce me to a spell caster online who lift me up gave me hope and with-in 2 days after his spell my husband who told me he needed a divorce, called me and take me back home to me i must say today we are happily as one big family again all thanks to Dr joy a father and a real spell caster.Contact email address joylovespell@gmail.com Call him +2347088404185.

    ReplyDelete