A large tree squirrel. Dark, grizzled gray above with darker sides and reddish back; belly white. Tail above similar to back, but bordered with white and with whitish cast. Tail white below. Tasseled ears reddish on back, about 1 3/4" (44 mm) long.Active throughout the winter, Abert's Squirrel may remain in its nest in very cold weather, venturing out only to retrieve buried seeds, especially at tree bases where there is no snow. Nuts are buried in the ground, but no food is stored in the nest, which is built on a base of twigs placed in a tree crotch, about 20 to 40 feet (6 to 13 m) high, typically in a ponderosa pine. This squirrel uses its nest throughout the year, as a refuge by day and for sleeping at night. It either constructs a ball-like mass of twigs from pine or builds its nest within "witches'-brooms," growths of small pine twigs infected by dwarf mistletoe.
Ten Facts about Abert's Squirrel
- Abert's squirrel is also know as the tassel-eared squirrel.
- Abert's squirrel can be found in the mountainous areas of New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Arizona and parts of Wyoming and north central Mexico.
- Abert's squirrel live in coniferous forests with ponderosa pine trees.
- Seeds and the inner bark of the ponderosa pine, as well as terminal buds, staminate flowers, and pinyon nuts are its chief foods, but Abert's Squirrel also eats mistletoe and other vegetable items.
- The outside diameter of the nest measures from 1 to 3 feet (.3 to 1 m). The animal lines the inside of the 6-inch by 10-inch (157-254 mm).
- Mating season can run from late February through early June. During mating season, the female is followed by small groups of males.
- The babies are born without fur and with their eyes closed. They may start to climb down to the ground when they are about seven weeks old.
- They are weaned after about 10 weeks.
- Abert's squirrels are 46-58 cm long with a tail of 19-25 cm. The most noticeable characteristic would be their hair ear tufts, which extend up from each ear 2-3 cm.
- The life span of the squirrel is approximately six years.