Squirrel Hide and Seek
Squirrels start hiding their nuts in autumn so they don’t go hungry as the seasons change. But they don’t always remember where they hide them, which is good for the forest as acorns grow into oak trees.
Be a squirrel! Collect and bury three nuts like a squirrel, then see if you can find them later!
Mini Challenge: Spot a squirrel’s drey (nest)
Look up in the trees for a messy ball of leafy twigs, lined with moss, feathers, grass, bark and other soft materials.
Squirrels use their tails to communicate with each other.
When a red squirrel sees something dangerous or suspicious, it wags its tail to alert other squirrels.
If a grey squirrel flicks its tail in snappy, arced movements it is frustrated.
Observe squirrel tails – can you guess what they are saying?
Red and grey squirrels are different colours, but can you spot any other differences?
- Ears: Red squirrels have long hairs on their ears called tufts, grey squirrels never do.
- Size: Grey squirrels are twice the size of reds.
- Tails: The hair on a grey squirrel’s tail has different bands of colours in it and the tip is white. A red squirrel’s tail might be red, black or white but it is all just one colour with no white tip.
Red Squirrels are an endangered species and can no longer be found in London.
Sit back and listen to the sound of falling acorns tumbling through the leaves of a tree’s canopy, tonking on the branches and thudding as they hit the ground.
If you sit for long enough, you may just hear tiny claws climbing up and down the trees and the noise of a tree cone being chewed.
Collect some leaves and twigs and leave a trail for a squirrel to follow. Where will you lead them? To a waiting store of nuts, a new drey or somewhere else?
Come up with your own acorn game!
Mini challenge: make acorn tops
Ask a grown-up for help making your own spinning top. Push or gently hammer a nail into the centre of the top of an acorn to make a hole for a match-stick.
Stick the match into the hole.
Ta-dah – you’ve made your own acorn spinning top – try spinning it!
Who ate all the acorns?
Find a nibbled tree cone and discover what has eaten it!
- Squirrel: Scales are gnawed off, eaten cones look untidy and are left in open spaces.
- Mouse: Scales are neatly gnawed off, found at hidden feeding sites.
- Woodpecker: Scales broken and ruffled.