Your Cat Can’t Raise Wild Animal Babies

You’ve likely seen— and possibly even shared— those cute viral photos and videos of domestic cats raising wild animals. Stories of cats raising wild animals are always adorable and heartwarming, but the sad truth is that most of these stories are fake, and most attempts to recreate them end in tragedy. Take, for example, theContinue reading “Your Cat Can’t Raise Wild Animal Babies”

Most American Squirrels Used to be Black

Black squirrels aren’t common anymore in the U.S., but you may still see them if you’re lucky! Believe it or not, there was a time that most squirrels in the U.S. had this interesting (and beautiful!) trait. Black coloration, or melanism, can occur in both fox squirrels and Eastern grey squirrels. Prior to European invasionContinue reading “Most American Squirrels Used to be Black”

Chipmunks are Harmless: Don’t Hurt Them!

Pest control companies seeking your business may be quick to exaggerate— or even totally fabricate— the damage that chipmunks can cause. Please don’t be in a rush to harm these little guys! Eastern chipmunk burrows have tiny entrances only about the size of a quarter, so unless your lawn is so neat and tidy thatContinue reading “Chipmunks are Harmless: Don’t Hurt Them!”

Dreys: Those Leafy Squirrel Nests

Have you spotted these nests in your neighborhood? These are called dreys. Tree squirrels and flying squirrels build them out of leaves, grass, bark, and twigs in the forked branches of trees, when cavity nests aren’t available. A pair of male and female squirrels will often share a drey until the female becomes pregnant, butContinue reading “Dreys: Those Leafy Squirrel Nests”

Why Do Fox Squirrels and Grey Foxes Have the Same Markings?

These two native species, the Eastern grey fox and the Eastern fox squirrel, have nearly identical markings. Both developed these patterns to adapt to the same environmental pressures. The light or white markings on their undersides, called countershading, help both animals camouflage when seen from the side, while he pattern of grey and red helpsContinue reading “Why Do Fox Squirrels and Grey Foxes Have the Same Markings?”

Tennessee’s Endangered Flying Squirrel

This cutie pie is a rare sight, spotted occasionally in some of the higher altitude areas here in East Tennessee. Carolina flying squirrels are a subspecies of the Northern flying squirrel, currently facing the possibility of extinction due to habitat fragmentation and pollution. Its greatest threats come from the loss of the old-growth spruce forestsContinue reading “Tennessee’s Endangered Flying Squirrel”

Tennessee’s Red Squirrels

American red squirrels aren’t endangered, but here in our home state of Tennessee, they’re not very common. Red squirrels in Tennessee tend to stick to the high-altitude forests in Eastern Tennessee near the North Carolina border. They’re distinguished from their more widespread grey cousins by their smaller size, reddish fur, and less bushy tail. InContinue reading “Tennessee’s Red Squirrels”