Abert’s Squirrel

Abert’s squirrel is a tree squirrel.

It has tufted ears.  He is sometimes known as the tassel-eared squirrel.

Abert’s squirrel lives with other Abert’s squirrels and loves to jump in the top of Ponderosa pine trees.

Abert's Squirrel

Where they are found

Aberts squirrels are found in America.  They live in South Western America and North Central Mexico.

They like the regions of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming and Utah.

This is where their favorite pine trees grow.

What they look like

Abert's Squirrel

This little squirrel is really sweet to look at.  It has tufts on the tips of its ears and a long bushy tail.

Most of these squirrels are grey, but they can be black or brown.  Many of them have an orange stripe down their back.Aberts squirrels sometimes have white markings round their eyes.

Their bushy tail is usually white and they have white tummies.  The male and the female squirrels look alike.

Where do they live?

Abert's squirrel eating a ponderosa pineconeAberts squirrels are very happy in the Ponderosa pine trees.

They have very strong back legs with sharp claws. Their strong legs and claws let them jump among the high branches.Aberts squirrels are herbivores.

They eat the pine cones, twigs and the sap from the ponderosa tree.

In winter there is less food around and they eat the bark of the tree.Sometimes they dig up fungi from the bottom of the tree to eat.

When they are feeding at the top of the tree they can hold onto the branch with their back legs and use their front legs to get their food.Aberts squirrels are diurnal.

They wake at sunrise and are busy all day.

They don’t hibernate in winter.

They prepare for winter by putting on extra weight when food is scarce.

Family life

Abert's Squirrel

Aberts squirrels live together.  Sometimes there can be a few squirrels and sometimes as many as 114 squirrels sharing a space of one square kilometre.

The squirrels breed in spring and are very sociable at this time.

The squirrels do not choose a special mate.  The males follow the females and can get aggressive with each other.  The mother squirrel gives birth to the babies after 43 days.

When the babies are born their mother keeps them in a nest made of soft pine needles.

The squirrels have between 1 – 5 babies.  They have no fur and their eyes are closed when they are born.  The father squirrel does not help with the babies at all.

At seven weeks the babies are ready to climb down from their nests to the bottom of the tree.

When they are ten weeks old they learn how to eat by themselves.

The babies are called pups or kits.  The baby squirrel will be fully grown at the age of eleven months.


Abert's Squirrel

The squirrels communicate with each other through the noises they make like clucks and squeaky sounds.

They all live together and don’t mind sharing nests.

Predators and dangers

Abert's Squirrel

The Abert’s squirrel has a few enemies.

The northern goshawk, a bird of prey, likes to swoop in and catch squirrels in its strong claws.  Bobcats, cougars and coyotes will also hunt for the Abert’s squirrel.

The squirrel’s ability to jump from branch to branch helps it to stay ahead of some of its enemies.

Contribution to nature

Abert's squirrel

When Abert’s squirrels dig for the fungi at the bottom of the pine trees, they help the fungi to release spores.

The spores are like tiny seeds and help the fungi to carry on growing under the pine trees.

The fungi help to protect the tree roots.  Nature has a wonderful way of helping different plants and animals to survive.

Abert’s Squirrel Facts for Kids

  • Abert’s squirrels are rodents.
  • They don’t hibernate in winter.
  • Their front teeth grow all through their life.
  • They have to keep gnawing to keep their teeth trim.
  • Their hind legs are flexibleand allow them to climb up and down trees.
  • The word squirrel comes from a Greek word meaning shadow tail.
  • Tree squirrels are active all year around.  They do not sleep in winter.
  • Tree squirrels are very smart.  They look like acrobats as they jump in tall pine trees.
  • Abert’s squirrels have five toes on their back feet and four toes on their front feet.

Abert's Squirrel

New vocabulary:

Diurnal. – busy from sunrise to sunset.

Herbivores. – animals that only eat plants.

Sociable – Friendly with other squirrels.

Flexible – they are not stiff.


What did you Learn?

What is the Abert’s squirrels’s other name?
The Abert’s squirrel is also called a tassel-eared squirrel.

Which tree does the Abert’s squirrel like to live in and eat from?
The Abert’s squirrel likes the Ponderosa pine tree.

How does digging up fungi at the bottom of the pine tree help the tree?
Digging at the bottom for fungi releases the spores or seeds of the fungi so they can grow more fungi and protect the tree roots

What do the baby squirrels look like?
They are born blind and have no hair.

Who are the Abert’s squirrels enemies?
The northern goshawk, cougars, bobcats and coyotes are enemies of the Abert’s squirrel.