squirrel, name for small or medium-sized rodents of the family Sciuridae, found throughout the world except in Australia, Madagascar, and the polar regions; it is applied especially to the tree-living species. Tree squirrels range from the size of a mouse to the size of a house cat and vary greatly in color; some Asian tree squirrels are brilliantly patterned. In addition to the tree squirrels, the family includes the ground squirrel, chipmunk, marmot, woodchuck, prairie dog, and flying squirrel.
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