In human epoch North America differed a great diversity of species of chipmunks and squirrels. With the ability to live in a changed person landscapes proteins relatively little affected by the human epoch, and their variety is very great in Neocene. Among them there was a peculiar kind of squirrel that combines species produce specific visuals supply signals relatives. At the head of all the species of this genus, there are portions of the movable elongated hair, the color of which often contrasts with the background color of the wool. In the forests of the temperate climate is found Mask-forelocked squirrel - one of the most common species of the animal with a body length of about 30 cm and a tail is up to 20 cm.
The appearance of Mask-forelocked squirrel maintains recognizable features that characterize this group of rodents. This animal is a light body with a fluffy tail, prehensile paws and a flexible spine, is well adapted to life in the trees. When you first look at this animal is clearly visible two-color contrast color of the muzzle - a recognition symbol for the relatives and the serious warning small predators. In animal temples grow tufts of long white hair, and a vast blur of white fur covers the forehead, nose and eye area. Otten this spot, crown and sides of the animal's black head. This color is clearly visible even in low light and is detected by predators that have no color vision. The hair on the crown of the head as elongated - have excited or aggressive animal hair crest rises and visually exaggerates the size of the animal. Background color of hair on the body is brown, lighter on the throat, chest and belly, and with a noticeable reddish tint on the legs and tail. Unlike adults, the cubs do not have a bright mark on the face - she begins to manifest only in animals that already live independently.
Mask-forelocked squirrel has aggressive behavior, and a significant portion of its diet can be the food of animal origin. It is able to attack small animals, catching snakes and lizards, ruining bird nests. On the ground, this squirrel behaves cautiously, but coming down to hunt for snakes, which it kills accurate bite in the neck by jumping on them from the tree trunk. Very often this squirrel eats food of animal origin in the winter and early spring, when the plant becomes less feed. In the case of predator attack this protein is able to counterattack, inflicting severe bites in the face and legs. Protection from predators is accompanied by a loud cry, like a cat squealing. By relatives Mask-forelocked squirrel also includes intolerant, banishing them from their territory, except for the mating season.
Every animal in the forest takes an individual site, marking the boundaries of urine and chewed on the bark of trees. Usually the squirrel settles in the hollows, but willing to take other people's nests, refitting their own needs. If in its territory inhabited by a colony of spices parrots, after the departure of birds Mask-forelocked squirrel is using their nest for the winter, gathering in it food stocks - she drilled in the "storage" for a few kilograms of seeds, nuts and acorns, sometimes moving them from less convenient caches.
In the spring, around the beginning of the melting of snow, in proteins occurs the Mask-forelocked squirrel mating season, when males are most often violate the boundaries of the territory of the females, not risking being wounded their powerful incisors. Usually, the female mates with several males, and the development of the embryo begins some time after the end of the breeding season; As a result, the cubs from the same litter may have different fathers. In a litter of 6-8 cubs, which leave the nest at the age of 2 months (about the middle of July). At this time the female has time to mate a second time, and soon gives birth to a second litter of reaching self-sufficiency in the middle of autumn. By next spring the young animals are able to participate in reproduction. Life expectancy is no more than 3 years.
In North America close species:
Bearded squirrel (Lophosciurus leucobarbus) inhabits the forests of the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific coast of the continent. The size is similar to Mask-forelocked squirrel , but it differs from the ash-gray color coat and dark gray belly. On the throat and chest animals of both sexes grow long white hair, forming something like a thick beard. Threatening kinsman or a predator, the animal gets up on his hind legs and fluffs the hair, which are clearly visible against the background of the dark belly.
Lion squirrel (Lophosciurus leonticephala) - thermophilic species living in deciduous forests of the subtropical southern tip of the continent, along the Gulf Coast. This small species (body length up to 15 cm, tail - 10 cm) with chestnut-brown hair and a white breast. At the top of the head, throat and cheeks growing elongated wool grayish-yellow color, which form a sort of lion's mane. Threatening the enemy or opponent, animal bristle the hair, like a collar, and small shakes his head, emitting a high-pitched squeak threatening. This type mainly zhivotnoyaden, invertebrates make up about 2/3 of the diet. Seasonal prevalence in breeding is not, for the year the female brings three broods of 5-6 cubs.
Browed squirrel (Lophosciurus superciliaris) - a small species of deciduous forests south-eastern part of North America (the Appalachians). Body length - up to 20 cm, tail -. about 17 cm This type of gray color of hair on the body, white belly and above the eyes from the nose to the ears extend two elongated strips of black fur, complemented by large black hair brush on the ears.