Why are Squirrels Important to the Environment
Squirrels are a common sight in many neighbourhoods. They are famous for their boldness, their appetite for nuts, and the fact that they live in trees. But did you know that squirrels are also crucial to the environment?
1. Squirrels are responsible for redistributing tree seeds:
Squirrels eat walnuts, acorns, beechnuts, and other tree seeds. When they digest their food, they pass the seeds in their poop. The squirrels do not intend to spread tree seeds this way. They simply eat the seeds and move on. But as a result of this action, new trees get a chance to grow where there once was none.
2. Squirrels are important for reducing insects:
As squirrels scurry through trees eating nuts and seeds, they sometimes eat insects that live on the leaves or bark of trees. By eating these insects, squirrels are helping to protect the trees from insects. Research suggests that squirrels may even help to control insect populations.
3. Squirrels help Forest Regeneration:
Squirrels help regenerate forests in two ways. First, they help to re-distribute new seeds from parent trees to other young ones. Second, they help spread the spores of mushrooms after eating them. As the squirrel digests the mushroom, spores are released through the animal’s feces, and these spores will go on to grow new mushrooms in various parts of a forest.
4. Squirrels help control bark beetles:
A squirrel is actually a very good natural pest control for forest regeneration. The squirrel eats the smaller wood-boring insects that eat the young tree tissue surrounding it. Without these pests, young forests can become overgrown with weaker stems and branches that may not survive if attacked by other forest pests like aphids or borers such as beetles or caterpillars .
5. Squirrels have a significant part in the food chain:
Squirrels have a very important part in the food chain. Squirrels are eaten by hawks, coyotes, foxes, and other animals. To thrive, these predators need to eat small rodents like squirrels, so if squirrel populations are healthy and plentiful, this helps the animals at the top of the food chain to thrive.
Squirrels also depend on other animals for their survival. Just as larger animals depend on smaller animals (such as rabbits) for their food source, squirrels depend on insects like bees or caterpillars to help them grow their population.
6. Squirrels help improve soil quality:
Squirrels bury seeds in the ground for future use, since they can’t digest nuts and digested remnants of their meals. Burying things in the ground is actually an excellent way to increase soil quality, since it allows those things to break down more slowly and adds nutrition to the soil as they do so. This process also helps with water retention and makes the soil less likely to erode or wash away during heavy rains or flooding.
7. The Squirrels aid truffles to grow:
If you have ever noticed fresh mushrooms, it is likely that animals such as squirrels were around. This is because the spores of many mushrooms are spread through the feces of animals. The squirrel aids in this process by eating the truffle and then releasing it later with its feces to allow more truffles to grow in new areas.
Squirrels are important for both humans and animals, because they help to control insect populations, distribute tree seeds, and reduce waste. However, these benefits do not come without a cost.