Squirrel bombardment=One Sticky Mess?

Living in a mobile home in the woods this time of year can be trying. We are bombarded all day long with squirrels throwing pine cones out of the trees, onto our roof from daylight 'till after dark.

Daylight this morning, I was watching our particular [sub]little fuc****buddy [/sub] climbing the tree, jumping to the roof and grabing one of the previous day’s bombs to stash in its cache.

I happened to notice, that Mr./Mrs. squirrel was nattily dressed as always, even though it has made numerous trips through a large pitch seep. The cones it voraciously eats each day are full of pitch, the most sticky, nastiest stuff you’d ever want to get on your hands, clothing or [sub]let your imagination work[/sub] any other place you could imagine.

This is the most knowledgeable place I know, I turn to you, the teeming millions. There seems to be nothing on the net, as far as I can find…

How in the world do squirrels keep the pitch off their hairy bodies? You’d think you’d be able to walk out to your bird feeder every morning and find a hopelessly tangled squirrel, flopping on the ground, looking like a sunflower studded Chia Pet. Instead, [sub] there the little bastard is[/sub] sitting in your squirrel proof feeder, eating all your expensive bird feed while we’re trying to catch a bit of shut-eye between bombardments.

So…what’s the deal? Do squirrels produce some kind of oil in their fur to help keep their pelt spiffy? Do they get a sticky tongue trying to lick all that stuff off or do they keep a stash of diesel fuel in their aerie to wash their greedy paws off with?

Anyone with any squirrel insight? I’d appreciate your input.

I’ll bet that squirrel fur works a lot like cat fur. When a cat gets some sort of sticky goo on its coat the individual hairs quickly get entangled and gooed up in it; to the point that the sticky stuff is completely covered with fur. Once that happens the whole unsticky mass can be removed with just a bit of grooming. The individual hairs come out very easily, and because there are so many of them (60,000/square inch on a cat, more on some squirrels) the cats, or squirrels, coat is left none the worse for wear.

Oh, God, Oh my God! Do I hate @#$%ing squirrels!
http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=23968

How do they keep the gunk off of them? They’re imps of Satan, that’s how!

Cats have 60,000 hairs per square inch?! You know what? I believe it. But I’m gullible. Do you have a cite or can you point me to a reference?
I don’t want to have to go home and count for myself.

Anyway, all the squirrels I’ve touched - eastern greys - seemed to have very short, somewhat bristle-y hairs that all lay very flat against their bodies, leading me to believe the actual density was nowhere near that astronomical figure. I would imagine (from my own experience handling squirrels, and not based on any study or reference) that the pine gunk can to a degree just slide off their fur due to mechanical action with perhaps some chemical component (a waxy coating or something) that I have no real interest in pursuing.
Compare squirrel outsides to human outsides: squirrels have essentially cone-shaped hairs (thick at the base, pointy at the end) that pine gunk can flow down; humans have ridges in their skin, plus very sparse hairs on most parts, that would impede the flow of the gunk. Squirrels also spend some time grooming, so I’d further imagine that any gunk that does not just fall off on its own would be groomed out by a method similar to that which Squink describes, in fact, identical to that method. The gunk gets trapped in the hairs and is pulled out en masse.

The only other solution I can think of is that squirrels are just very tidy animals who know better than to get that stuff on their hands. Erm, paws.

The 60,000 figure is for the top of the cat, on the underside they have up to 120,000 per square inch.
Fur seals can have have over a million hairs per square inch.
This cite, http://www.catsinfo.com/catfacts.html ,isn’t great, but there are a lot of sites that make the same claim; and the number isn’t out of line with the hair densities for other furry creatures.

Thanks Squink, that is a phenomenal amount of hairs.