Eating squirrel pine cones
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Half an hour before sunrise is day watch
In contrast to most forest dwellers, the squirrel becomes active at dawn. It is extremely punctual: every morning half an hour before sunrise it crawls out of its nest.
It is most active during the morning hours and rests during the hottest noon hours. It resumes its activities in the evening and goes to sleep again before sunset.
This regular daily routine is sometimes disrupted by the weather conditions. When the temperature rises above 25 degrees, squirrels retreat into their nests. They also do this when there is very strong wind.
In winter, squirrels sleep most of the day, only in the morning do they find what they need to eat. But they don't actually hibernate.
Pine cones and beechnuts are more popular than hazelnuts
Squirrels spend 60 to 80% of their active time foraging for food. The composition of the vegetation cover plays an important role: mixed forests offer a more varied and stable food base than spruce monocultures, which do not bear fruit every year. For the squirrel, the age of the trees is more important than the species composition, as it is dependent on tree seeds, which are only produced after the trees have reached a certain age. Pines are the earliest conifers to bear cones after 20 years. Beeches only form seeds after 80 years. In addition, the seed formation changes from year to year. Squirrels can only survive permanently where the seed formation never completely dries up due to the composition of the tree population according to type and age. The diet of squirrels consists of seeds, shoots and buds of conifers, but also berries, mushrooms and beechnuts. Hazelnuts and the blossoms of various deciduous and coniferous trees and flowers. Unlike gray squirrels, squirrels have great difficulty digesting acorns. Less often, squirrels also eat insects, eggs or young birds. Squirrels quench their thirst early in the morning after getting up at a pool of water or with some snow in winter.
In winter, spruce buds are the main food. Nevertheless, spruce forests also have advantages: if they contain trees of different ages, they not only offer food, but also good protection against wind and storms. Although you can still see the cute little animals everywhere in the woods, their future does not look bright. Their preferred forest home is becoming smaller and more uniform.
Squirrels need a winter supply
The squirrel is famous for its food storage. It stores winter supplies during times of abundance of food. There are no pantries in their construction. Since it does not hibernate, it begins to set up depots early in autumn. To do this, it mainly collects seeds, but z. B. also mushrooms, which are partly buried, hidden in tree hollows or stuck in cracks in the bark or forks of branches. Nuts or acorns are preferably placed so that they touch the roots or the trunk of a tree. The squirrel does not memorize the hiding spots, but they are found again by searching suitable places according to predetermined search patterns, whereby the sense of smell plays an important role. The squirrel can smell hazelnuts lying in the ground from a distance of 30 cm. It often happens that a squirrel forgets the location of the pantry. Therefore the single animal creates several at the same time. These forgotten camps can sometimes be discovered in spring as a collection of acorns, hazelnuts or beechnuts. Collecting is inherited as an instinctive act. That inherited Behavior is always the same: pawing a hole - putting down a nut - poking your nose, pawing at and pressing down on the earth. After a few days of rest, they leave their warming nest to look for food. Depending on the area where a squirrel lives, it builds up more or less supplies. In deciduous forests, the stocks are usually much smaller than in higher-lying coniferous forests.
The storage bunker
shows how problematic the effects of weather are for squirrels. When it's warmer and sunnier than usual, take a long nap in your Kobel and then just go around very early in the morning and in the evening to take care of yourself. However, rain showers, storms, thunderstorms and especially snowstorms are even more uncomfortable for them.
In order for squirrels to survive the winter well, it is important that they find enough food in the fall to fill their stores. If this is not the case and a severe winter ensues, the supplies are quickly used up and many of the animals starve to death.
Eroded pine cones, spruce shoots and "pineapple galls"
The presence of squirrels is easy to recognize: leftover food on the ground gives unmistakable evidence of squirrels (characteristic tooth prints).
In spring, squirrels also leave traces that foresters do not like. They eat spruce buds and tear off young twigs, which they throw on the ground. Sometimes they also gnaw the bark of trees (spruce, pine, larch, maple) to get at the cambium and the rising sap. They prefer the delicate tree tops.
A wolf in sheep or croissant fur? Squirrels as "sex offenders"
It cuts off the youngest shoots, on which the male flower buds it prefers are located, below the lower bud whorl with its sharp teeth. After that, the squirrel moves to a more solid branch seat. There it picks out the innards of the bud with one of its long, pointed incisors from the lower jaw in order to enjoy it. Afterwards it lets the shoot fall to the ground. The hard-working tree acrobat manages up to three shoots per minute. As a result, it is not surprising that there is a carpet-like accumulation of shoots under such affected trees. Such loss of shoots is referred to in the specialist literature as "jumps" because it was previously believed that the spruce shed the shoots of its own accord a seed year. Correctly, "jumping off" is understood to mean the shoots chopped off by wind, hail or mutual friction between the trees, but which differ in shape and size from the shoots bitten off by the squirrel and have intact buds. In many cases it is responsible for the perishing of whole 10 to 20 year old stands (especially larch) by gnawing the bark (it also licks the tree sap) down to the cambium.
The cute and at the same time lively squirrel is by no means as harmless as it seems. Hardly anyone knows that a squirrel can bite off more than 600 spruce shoots a day. These then lie like a carpet on the forest floor.
That's how much a squirrel eats a day
Squirrels are essentially omnivores; Their menu is primarily based on what is on offer in their area. Seed-bearing trees and young bark are essential. If they are missing, squirrels will hardly settle down even when there is otherwise a rich supply. Because of the bark damage, the squirrels are often said to have a negative influence on young tree plantings. But this will mainly happen when the loss of old fruit-bearing trees forces them to resort to buds and bark. Otherwise, the squirrel will eat insects and their larvae, including aphids and ant eggs. Seeds, buds, twigs, beechnuts, spruce seeds, and other parts of plants, especially galls, are also eaten because of the tenants or pests they contain (dummy feeding). A squirrel consumes 35-80 g of food every day - depending on size and season. The animals reach 80 g per day in spring, 55 g per day in summer, 70 in autumn and only 35 g per day in winter. During the course of the day, squirrels mainly eat towards the end of their daily activity, although they are already busy looking for food in the morning.
Amazingly, some poisonous plants are harmless to squirrels. So they ingest the highly poisonous yew berries harmlessly, while two bitter almonds are enough to kill it. Squirrels have been observed on bleeding oaks and birches as they lick up the juice, which has often gone into alcoholic fermentation, in an intoxicating state.
As for the feed
An important area is the correct composition of grain feed. But the best composition of the feed is of no use if the seeds are old and overlaid, as they have then lost a large part of the nutrients (especially vitamins). When buying feed, it is important to check the quality of the feed not only in terms of the ingredients, but also in terms of its freshness, so it may be obvious that every animal gets what it needs, what it tastes good and is good for its health . But I've already seen squirrels that were only given parrot food (because it was cheaper!) And are now struggling with their deficiency symptoms. Nowadays it is easy to get good food and if you don't live on dry bread and water yourself, you should be able to buy the right food for your animal.
Avoid unilateral ...
... nutrition which will certainly lead to the disease of the animal. Do not spoil your croissant by renewing the food every day, you should let them eat what they may not like. Do not leave the food open in the food bowl for more than two days, it could become rancid or dirty. In addition to the size of the enclosure, proper nutrition is the essential basis for animal welfare. Unfortunately, this topic is inadequately dealt with in many specialist books.
The diet of adult squirrels consists of:
Nuts and seeds (walnut, hazelnut, chickweed / whole plant, plantain / leaves and seeds, meadow sorrel / leaves and seeds, beechnuts, sunflower seeds, conifer seeds / cones (pine cones) Buds and shoots of fresh twigs.) Rose hip or dog rose. The pulp is extremely rich in vitamins. They can be frozen well when they are half ripe so that they can also be fed in winter. These and some other plants can be fed to our squirrel without hesitation. Please do not collect near busy roads as these can be heavily contaminated with pollutants and are not suitable for feeding.
Other food for croissants is:
Fruit: e.g. apple, pear, melon Vegetables: carrot, fresh corn on the cob, oat flakes, lettuce and spinach, rusks and crispbread. Peanuts only sparingly, if possible do not feed them at all, they are not exactly healthy and are often infected with mold. In addition, they cannot be found outside in the wild.
It is ideal if the food is not all offered in the bowl, but is partially scattered. The squirrel learns to look for food and is less bored at the same time.
The Swiss stone pine (nuts) shown here are around the large and small variety. Since these nuts are very expensive, it is worth buying a 25 kg sack right away. With the big ones it happens that there are a lot of deaf nuts. I check on site by opening 10-20 pieces with pliers. As the animals are of different opinion, I feed 50 to 50%. I haven't had any bad ones with the smaller ones.
When buying sunflower seeds always ask for the big ones and squeeze a few seeds between your fingers. You will then notice whether the cores are empty or full. Here, too, it is worth buying 25 kg bags. The kernels don't go bad if you store them dry in the basement. I mix these up like this: two parts white one part striped.
When buying corn there is only one tip. The pigeon fanciers have a very good variety of maize because it is air-dried. This does not shrink. It is rich in unsaturated fatty acids and also contains fat, vitamins and minerals.
Be careful with the amount when mixing or feeding especially fresh corn promotes the risk of diarrhea.
Use when buying hazelnuts
Not the big ones, as the animals can hardly get them in their mouths and cannot carry them away.
Most of the time these are also waxed to look more beautiful.
In most cities there are tree nuts on many streets.
(The tubers look like chestnut tubers) In each tuber there are approx. 6-9 nuts that can be kicked out. Hazelnuts from the tree hazel or Turkish hazel (Corylus colurna).
At first glance, the tree hazel hazelnut does not look that much like “normal” hazelnuts because the fruit casings are heavily slit, but the nuts themselves are more than unambiguously hazelnuts. I think these fruit bunches and the trees, which can be up to 20 meters high, are very beautiful! The nuts from the hazelnut tree Corylus colurna can be eaten like other hazelnuts. The tree hazel forms a trunk with a steep, pyramidal crown, is always tree-like, up to 20 m high. It has heart-shaped, pointed, double to lobed sawn leaves. The fruits are crowded and surrounded by a multiple slit, but only slightly longer shell. It forms entire stocks in Lower Austria, Hungary and the Banat, but its nuts are less tasty than those of the other species. The nuts, which are somewhat smaller than the common hazel (C. avellana), ripen in infusions consisting of 5 to 6 nuts with curly bracts. The wood is light brown and is very popular for making furniture and carvings.
Due to its robustness and slender growth, the tree hazel is often planted as a street tree in Central Europe.
Please feed walnuts only 1-2 times a week and a maximum of two per animal.
Attention the nuts are often infested with mold from the inside.
Two of those infected with mold can be seen in the picture.
I give every animal 2-3 of these cat taps a day. These treats
help you to get used to the hand of the animals.
Since the company Gimpet has unfortunately taken the pure cat tabs out of their program, I have decided on them
Tabs changed. The ones with algobiotin were immediately accepted by most of my croissants.
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