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Getting to Know Squirrel in Rifle Falls State Park

Rifle Falls State Park is known for its lush vegetation, spectacular triple waterfalls, and caves. Among the wildlife that inhabits the area, the squirrel is a common sight and part of the natural charm of the park. Here's some important information for campers regarding squirrels at Rifle Falls State Park:

Squirrel Behavior and Habitat

  • Active Year-Round: Squirrels are active throughout the year, but they are especially busy during the fall as they prepare for winter by gathering and storing food.
  • Tree-Dwellers: They typically nest in trees and can be quite adept climbers and jumpers.
  • Diet: Squirrels are primarily herbivores, eating a diet of nuts, seeds, fruits, and sometimes insects.
  • Attraction to Campsites: They may be attracted to campsites by the smell of food, so it's important to keep your campsite clean and food secured.

Camping with Squirrels: Do's and Don'ts

Do:

  • Store Food Securely: Use airtight containers or a bear box if available. Hanging food from a tree in a bag can also help keep it out of reach.
  • Dispose of Waste Properly: Always use designated trash receptacles or take your waste with you when you leave.
  • Observe at a Distance: Enjoy watching squirrels go about their business without approaching or attempting to touch them.

Don't:

  • Feed the Squirrels: Feeding squirrels can make them dependent on human food and alter their natural behavior.
  • Encourage Interaction: Don't try to pet or pick up squirrels as they are wild animals and may bite if they feel threatened.
  • Leave Food Unattended: Unsecured food or rubbish can attract squirrels to your campsite, and they can cause a mess searching for food.

Benefits of Squirrels in the Ecosystem

  • Seed Dispersal: Squirrels play a crucial role in their ecosystems by spreading seeds, which can result in the growth of new plants and trees.
  • Soil Aeration: Their digging activities help to aerate the soil, which can be beneficial for plant growth.

Safety Precautions

Lastly, while squirrel bites or attacks on humans are rare, they can occur, especially if the animals feel cornered or threatened. It is always advised to keep a safe distance from all wildlife, including squirrels, and never attempt to handle them.

Enjoying the presence of squirrels during your camping trip to Rifle Falls State Park can be a delightful experience as long as you respect their space and follow the park's guidelines for interacting with wildlife.

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