Last September, a gamekeeper in my village gave me a fox and a grey squirrel he had killed. I wrapped them in mesh, and buried them in a wood, and I dug them both up a few months ago. I have already written about the fox skeleton, so this post is all about the grey squirrel.
This is what the skeleton looks like. I collected all the big bones, but not half of the hip, and for some reason the chest hadn't rotted down properly, so I don't have all of the ribs.
I am really pleased with the skull ! The teeth became loose and some fell out, so I don't have them all. It is 59mm long. That's almost exactly the same size as the other squirrel skull I have which I thought was a red, but is probably now a grey.
From the front, you can see the front of the teeth are orange, That's because the edge of the tooth is made of a different type of material which is harder. All rodents have teeth like this. You can see it best on my beaver skull which is another kind of rodent.
The front incisors are really really long when you take them out the skull. That's because they keep growing, getting pushed up and wearing away all the time. Squirrels eat nuts and cones, which are hard, so their teeth wear away so fast.
The shoulder blade (scapula) and humerus have extra different bits to other animals. I think that's because squirrels need to have very strong front legs.
The end of the shoulder blade has extra bits round the joint with the humerus. Hedgehog scapula are a bit like this too.
The paws were a lot like the fox paws, even with the claw sheaths.
We only found half the hip, but we found both femurs.
This is a squirrel skeleton that has been put back together that I saw in Kelvingrove Museum in Glasgow. It must be really difficult to build something like this.
Even though I live in the countryside, I don't see squirrels that often because they tend to live in the woods. Near where I live, I will probably see red squirrels more often than grey squirrels. In the Pheasant Woods, which are the woods nearest my house, there are both grey squirrels and red squirrels, and the gamekeeper is catching and killing greys squirrels so the red squirrels have enough food and don't catch diseases from the greys.
I don't like grey squirrels as much as the red squirrels, but it's still nice to see them in the woods.
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