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This topic is about the species. There is also a person named Squirrel.
A tree squirrel
A squirrel character by Doug Winger
Amy the Squirrel
Rokki, a flying squirrel character from Andorozon.
A squirrel character by artist Bob M. Guthrie.

A squirrel is a small omnivorous rodent, and is a member of the family Sciuridae, a family that includes small or medium-size rodents.


Existing squirrels are divided into five subfamilies, with about 58 genera and some 285 species. The oldest extant squirrel fossil, Hesperopetes, dates back to the Chadronian (late Eocene, about 40–35 million years ago) and was similar to modern flying squirrels.

The squirrel family includes tree squirrels, ground squirrels, chipmunks, neotropical pygmy squirrels, marmots (including groundhogs), oriental giant squirrels, flying squirrels, and prairie dogs amongst other rodents. Squirrels are indigenous to the Americas, Eurasia, and Africa, and were introduced by humans to Australia.

For many people, the type of squirrel that first comes to mind is a tree squirrel, with their most distinctive feature being their long, bushy tail. The stated purposes of this tail, to benefit the squirrel, include:

  • To keep rain, wind, or cold off itself.
  • To cool off when hot, by pumping more blood through its tail.
  • As a counterbalance when jumping about in trees.
  • As a parachute when jumping (certain species, I.e. flying squirrels).
  • To signal with (i.e. Danger).


The word "squirrel", first attested in 1327, comes from the Anglo-Norman "esquirel" which is from the Old French escurel, the reflex of a Latin word sciurus, which was taken from the Ancient Greek word "grc|σκίουρο" (skiouros; from σκία-ουρος [shadow-tailed]), referring to the long bushy tail which many of its members have.

Squirrels in mainstream culture[edit]

Squirrels and furry[edit]

Squirrels characters, especially female, are a common species seen in use in the furry fandom. Known furry artists specializing in them include Doug Winger, Fox.Popvli, and Eric W. Schwartz, among others. Finnish artist and animator Karri Aronen was also best known for his own self-representing squirrel fursona.

Known squirrels in furry fandom media[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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