What do flying squirrels eat?

Squirrels are troubled by winter

by Arne Peters
January 14, 2010, 9:24 am

Eckernförde | Feeding birds in winter is a matter of course for many people. But not only birds have difficulties finding food in a closed snow cover and frozen ground - squirrels are also struggling to survive. "A squirrel can still smell a nut buried in the ground in a snow cover of up to 30 centimeters," says Moni Rademacher from the squirrel breeding station on the grounds of the environmental information center on the Noorwanderweg. "But that doesn't do him any good if the ground is frozen." The animals could freeze to death and starve. Therefore she appeals to the citizens of Eckernförde - who at least have a squirrel in their coat of arms - to offer the animals some food in the garden. "Animals like to eat whale nuts, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds and fresh fruit," says Rademacher. Care should be taken that the squirrels cannot become easy prey for cats. Forks of branches or birdhouses would be suitable as feeding places - or the bird feeders that are sold at the breeding station (see picture above) and where the squirrel can get to the delicacies by lifting a lid. "You shouldn't touch the animals," recommends Rademacher. "They can bite and scratch." And it is also not necessary to provide a water bowl at low temperatures, as the water freezes and squirrels can also eat snow in an emergency.

It had long been announced that the animals would face a hard winter: they received their winter fur unusually early and began to bury nuts for winter supplies. "In addition, there were 1700 foundlings nationwide, an unusually large number of offspring that we looked after," said Rademacher. She raised 80 alone - 20 to 30 are normal. "I think that nature lets the animals feel that a hard winter is coming in which many animals will die, so that a correspondingly large number of offspring will have to be born beforehand."

Squirrels hibernate. They spend most of their time in one of their nests, the Kobel, which they warmly line for the winter with moss, grass or flying sheep's wool. Every two to three days they wake up and leave their kobel to drink and eat. They are territorial animals and solitary animals, but tolerate other squirrels if the food supply is sufficient.

This is especially true for the permanent guests in the rescue center. There are currently ten of them that would not survive in the wild because of a handicap. They can be visited every day except Mondays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The station employees are always grateful for donations - also in nut or fruit form. Pine nuts, which animals with dental problems can nibble, are particularly popular at the moment. The station can be reached by calling 04351/720255.