Quiz about Red Squirrels
Quiz about Red Squirrels

Red Squirrels Trivia Quiz


My cats have caught some red squirrels. So in honour of my cats, I've written this quiz on their most spectacular prey.

A multiple-choice quiz by JanIQ. Estimated time: 4 mins.
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Author
JanIQ
Time
4 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
403,911
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
7 / 10
Plays
291
Last 3 plays: Guest 149 (4/10), Guest 54 (10/10), Guest 51 (5/10).
This quiz has 2 formats: you can play it as a or as shown below.
Scroll down to the bottom for the answer key.
1. In which continents does the common red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) mostly live? Hint

North- and Central America
Europe and Asia
South America and Africa
Oceania and Antarctica

2. What is the preferred habitat of a common red squirrel? Hint

Terrestrial (at ground level)
Subterranean (digging underground)
Aquatic (in the water)
Arboreal (up in trees)

3. What's *NOT* the use of the long bushy tail of the red squirrel? Hint

Balancing when running over narrow branches
Keeping warm
Steering the jump from one tree to another
Grabbing onto a tree branch

4. As a rodent, the red squirrel misses one sort of tooth. Which of these teeth is completely missing in red squirrels? Hint

Incisors
Premolars
Molars
Canines

5. What is the feeding pattern of a red squirrel? Hint

Mostly herbivore
Mostly carnivore
Exclusively herbivore
Exclusively carnivore

6. When is the mating season for red squirrels? Hint

Twelve days of Christmas
All year round
Late winter and early summer
Late autumn

7. Which gender of the red squirrel grows to be the largest? Hint

The male is much larger than the female
Both are about the same size
The female is much larger than the male
Males and females have about the same body size but the male has a much longer tail

8. What is one of the main threats to the red squirrel? Hint

The Siberian tiger
The three-toed sloth
The wildebeest
The grey squirrel

9. The red squirrel is so named because of its dominant fur colour, but are there other colour patterns in this animal too?

Yes
No

10. What time of the day or night are red squirrels most active? Hint

24 hours a day
Midday
Morning and evening
At night


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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. In which continents does the common red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) mostly live?

Answer: Europe and Asia

The common red squirrel is alternately known as the Eurasian red squirrel, which would give away the answer to this question. It lives in most of Europe and Russia, as well as in Honshu (the northern main island of Japan), the northern parts of China and Mongolia, a small part of the Caucasus mountains, and some parts of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. There is also an American red squirrel, but that is a different species (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus, living all over Canada and most of the northern states of the USA).

North and Central America are home to four species of the grey squirrel. South America is home to the neotropical pygmy squirrel (Sciurillus pusillus) and others. Africa has given its name to the African ground squirrels (genus Xerus). There are no squirrels native to Oceania nor to Antarctica.
2. What is the preferred habitat of a common red squirrel?

Answer: Arboreal (up in trees)

The red squirrel is an arboreal animal. It lives mostly in trees, where it also will build its nest, and descends to the ground for foraging or to move over larger distances. They can jump from one tree to an adjacent one, and they are also able to swim. The red squirrel usually prefers conifers such as pines and spruces, but has also been spotted in deciduous trees.
A common red squirrel has a tail almost as long as its body: typically about 19-23 cm body length and 15-19 cm tail length, for a total weight of 250 - 340 g. Males and females typically are about the same size.

Ground squirrels tend to be larger and have shorter tails. The family of the ground squirrels also includes the marmots and the groundhogs.
3. What's *NOT* the use of the long bushy tail of the red squirrel?

Answer: Grabbing onto a tree branch

The red squirrel's tale has many uses, but it is not prehensile - so it cannot be used to grab things. It does help to steer a jump or in keeping the balance when running, especially on narrow branches. And in harsh weather a resting squirrel may drape its tail around its head in the way of a scarf, to help keeping warm.

According to my research, there is not any species of squirrel equipped with a prehensile tail. The only rodents with prehensile tails are the harvest mouse and (to a lesser degree) rats and arboreal porcupines.
4. As a rodent, the red squirrel misses one sort of tooth. Which of these teeth is completely missing in red squirrels?

Answer: Canines

A red squirrel has four incisors (which grow constantly during their life), four premolars and twelve molars (or according to another source sixteen true molars). The canine teeth are completely missing, as is the case with most herbivores. The incisors are kept reasonably short by biting hard food, such as acorns and hazelnuts.

Many squirrels have teeth discoloration causing an orange hue. This is no problem at all. Squirrels can develop tooth problems when their incisors are not well aligned to each other, for then the incisors will grow without being stopped and eventually crush the skull - unless the squirrel dies first from starvation, for with wrongly aligned teeth the animal has trouble feeding.
5. What is the feeding pattern of a red squirrel?

Answer: Mostly herbivore

The preferred food of a red squirrel is of vegetal origin: nuts, berries and other fruit, mushrooms and young shoots. But examining red squirrels closely has revealed to scientists that red squirrels do sometimes eat eggs or the meat of fledglings, especially when their preferred food of vegetal origin is lacking.

During the late summer and early autumn, when there are many nuts, red squirrels have been observed harvesting large quantities of these foods and hiding them as a reserve for the late winter or early spring. They can indeed retrieve their provisions later with more success than just relying on sheer luck - even if one website states that red squirrels have difficulty orienting.
6. When is the mating season for red squirrels?

Answer: Late winter and early summer

Red squirrels have two mating seasons: late winter (February - March) and early summer (June - July). Since gestation is just under 40 days, most kits (young squirrels) are born either in April or in August. The red squirrel usually has three kits at a time.

The kits develop their teeth after about six weeks and can then eat solid food. After that they still suckle for two to four weeks, and then they're on their own (at about ten weeks). So the squirrels born in August will have to take care of themselves starting in October.
7. Which gender of the red squirrel grows to be the largest?

Answer: Both are about the same size

Both male and female squirrels can grow up to 19 to 23 cm body length, not counting the tail of 15 to 20 cm. Both reach also a similar body mass (between 250 and 340 g, on average).

Colour patterns for male and female red squirrels are similar, the basic colouration only varies from one country to another. This variation is not as if only one basic pattern exists here and one basic pattern exists over there: it is merely that a certain pattern is more predominant in one country than in another. So the only way to find out for sure if you have seen a male or a female red squirrel, would be to catch the animal and check the genital organs.

When my cats had presented me a dead red squirrel, I didn't check whether it was male or female. And a few days later my cats brought home a live red squirrel - that was so quick I had no chance at all to examine it closely.
8. What is one of the main threats to the red squirrel?

Answer: The grey squirrel

The main threat to the red squirrel is surprisingly the American grey squirrel, not because of fighting among the species but because the grey squirrel carries the parapox disease that is especially dangerous for red squirrels, whilst grey squirrels seem unaffected by this disease. The grey squirrel and the red squirrel have the same preferred food, but the grey squirrel seems to digest the hard nuts more easily than the red squirrel.

A wildebeest (in Africa) or a three-toed sloth (in Central-America) is very unlikely to encounter a red squirrel (in Europe and Northern Asia). And if they were to meet, the herbivore wildebeest or sloth would not try to hunt down the red squirrel. And to a Siberian tiger a red squirrel is only a small bite, not worth the effort to hunt.

Real predators for red squirrels are birds of prey and some small-size carnivores such as cats, dogs or foxes. But the red squirrel is quite fast and can take shelter easily in the trees, so that most carnivores have little chance to catch a squirrel. Never say never though: each of my two cats has caught at least one red squirrel.
9. The red squirrel is so named because of its dominant fur colour, but are there other colour patterns in this animal too?

Answer: Yes

Well, if there were no other colours for red squirrels, this interesting info section would be meaningless. Most red squirrels have a bright red fur on the back and flanks, and a white to cream-coloured belly. But there are differences according to region.

The red can vary between dark orange and brownish red. But even blonde has appeared, and black is not uncommon. The black fur of red squirrels is due to a genetic mutation (melanism), and according to some reports, almost a quarter of all red squirrels in the German federal state Baden-Wurttemberg had this melanistic trait. Albinism on the other hand is quite rare, especially the true form of albinism that also displays red irises and in which deafness is quite common.

The one blonde red squirrel that has been photographed, is probably a leucist squirrel (a genetic mutation that affects the dark pigment in the fur but comes without the other traits of albinism).
10. What time of the day or night are red squirrels most active?

Answer: Morning and evening

Red squirrels are diurnal animals, so they are active mostly during the day. An experiment in England, in which a number of squirrels were released with radio transmitters implanted in their fur, showed a first peak in activity about three hours after sunrise and a second peak about two hours before sunset.

This pattern has seasonal variations, though. During the winter squirrel activity is almost only during the morning, while in the spring there tend to be two peaks (and in summertime there may even be three very active periods).
Source: Author JanIQ

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor rossian before going online.
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