Look at Those Ears! What’s This Cool Colorado Squirrel Called?
Just when you think you've seen all the wildlife that thrives in Colorado, here comes a hairy-eared squirrel.
Colorado is home to three kinds of tree squirrels. There is the common rusty red fox squirrel, Abert's squirrel, and the smaller but noisier pine squirrel. The one with those cute furry ears is called the Abert's squirrel.
The National Park Service says "Abert's squirrels are one-and-a-half to two pounds, grayish, reddish, or black squirrels with white undersides. They are most easily distinguished from other squirrels by their prominent ear tufts that are more prominent in the winter and may almost disappear in the summer."
Oh, it's an ear tuft. I want to call it an ear floof, but I guess tuft is good.
Abert's squirrels run all over Rocky Mountain National Park. The pictures above were of Abert's squirrels that rule the land in Park County, Colorado. Turns out they thrive in Ponderosa pine trees. They nest in them, but they also eat the needles, seeds, buds, cones, and bark. Abert's also eat mushrooms, antlers, insects, and other forest goodies.
According to Wikipedia "Abert’s squirrels are diurnal. They are often active for a short time before sunrise and active for periods throughout the day, and they usually return to shelter before sunset. Abert's squirrel does not store food, as other North American squirrels do."
So, unlike the chunky fox squirrel that is always hanging upside down tipping the bird feeder right into its mouth, the Abert's squirrel is a little more humble and hidden. As a Colorado native who has lived all over the state and loves to observe nature, I cannot believe I have spotted one of these cool little Spock-eared critters.