City of Wild: The urban life of squirrels
By Li Yujun

The squirrel is a little too cute for many people. Its chubby cheeks and bushy tail are too persuasive and people cannot help feeding it with peanuts and cookies.

Urban parks with lawns and trees are ideal homes for squirrels. The critters are clever and skilled in living in the city, it is not surprising to find them darting on the main street or digging in your backyard.

Squirrels can open the shells of nuts, which makes birds a noncompetitive neighbor since they won't grab food from them. Probably, for this reason, squirrels and pigeons often coexist peacefully with polite social distance or ignoring each other's existence. However, sparrows often avoid squirrels. When squirrels go up trees, sparrows fly away immediately. Squirrels are several times bigger than sparrows, which is why they are afraid of them.

Squirrels developed some habits to adapt to the urban environment.

When it rains, squirrels go under the leaves for shelter, and roll up their tails to keep out the rain.

Squirrels were also spotted building nests out of plastic waste. They collect plastic bags, plastic lines, and cigarette butts instead of twigs, dry leaves, and grass.

Squirrels contribute to urban biodiversity. On the one hand, they are the main food for raptors. On the other, they are also gardeners sowing seeds, even if unknowingly. Squirrels like to bury food that they can't finish, but sometimes they forget where they buried the nuts. Scientific researches show that a squirrel can bury 100 to 300 seeds in its lifetime, and many later grow into trees.

It is a good indicator that there are still wild animals running in the city since the animals are more sensitive to changes in nature than humans are. When the ecology is out of balance, it's difficult to track them.

About 'City of Wild'

Nature does not only exist in faraway mountains and oceans, but also in urban cities and our daily life. In the new series City of Wild, CGTN not only unfolds a world of wildlife you've never noticed, but also shares a concept of this year's CBD COP 15 theme: "Ecological Civilization – Building a Shared Future for All Life on Earth."

For more: 

City of Wild: Mallard ducks fight for 'love' in Beijing

City of Wild: Temple of Heaven and its residents during COVID-2019

City of Wild: 'Leading troops' of migrating birds arrive in Beijing

City of Wild: Birds in Beijing's Chaoyang Park welcome spring

(All photos via VCG)

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