Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis)
I saw this squirrel climbing around the trunk of a tree in the Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve while I was on the boardwalk. It was scrapping off the bark in some places. I assume it was looking for insects to eat. The Grey Squirrel is a mammal but is also a rodent. I learned that there are about 4,000 different kinds of mammals worldwide and of that number 38% of them or about 1,500 are classified as rodents. The diet of Grey Squirrels consists of insects, nuts, acorns, fruits and eggs. They make their nest in the cavities of trees and in nests they construct in the upper branches of trees. Squirrels can become infected by a parasite called the bot fly which grows under the skin of the squirrel. Do not feed squirrels or try to touch them.
A very good source of information about the natural resources and outdoor science is the Univ. of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences which is a federal, state and county partnership dedicated to developing knowledge in agriculture, human and natural resources and the life sciences. It offers classes in a variety of subjects in many counties in Florida and I have taken one in “Wetlands” which focuses on the land in Florida which is composed of swamps, marshes and estuaries. I learned about the topographical features of wetlands, how they contribute to the natural systems of Florida and the wildlife that is dependent upon them. Other classes offered by the Florida Master Naturalist program focuses on coastlines and uplands.
click on picture and wait for image to adjust for larger view of squirrel