Red squirrel – tamiasciurus hudsonicus – natureworks
The red squirrel is a small squirrel with reddish to reddish-gray fur on top and a white or cream underside. It has white around its eyes. Its tail is not as long or bushy as the tail of other tree squirrels. In the summer, the red squirrel may have a black stripe on its sides. Its curved front claws and powerful hind legs make it a very good climber and jumper!
Range The red squirrel can be found in most parts of Alaska and Canada. It is also found in the Rocky Mountain states and in the eastern United States south to northern Virginia and west to Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.
Habitat The red squirrel can be found in coniferous, deciduous and mixed coniferous-deciduous forests.
Diet The red squirrel eats a wide-variety of foods including insects, seeds, bark, nuts, fruits, mushrooms and pine seeds or cones. Sometimes it eats insects, young birds, mice and rabbits. A large part of its diet is made up of pine seeds.
In the fall, it will cut green pine cones from trees and store them in the ground. It also stores nuts and seeds in piles or middens under logs, at the base of trees and underground. It doesn’t always find or eat all of the seeds and nuts it has stored. Because of this, the red squirrel fills an important niche in spreading seeds in the forest.
The red squirrel may migrate short distances when food supplies are low. The red squirrel also drinks tree sap from maple trees. It bites a tree until the sap flows out and returns to drink it after the water in the sap has evaporated.
Life Cycle Mating season is in the late winter. About a month after mating, the female will have a litter of between three to seven babies. The babies are weaned after seven or eight weeks and will leave their mother when they are about 18 weeks old. In warmer climates, the red squirrel may mate in the late winter and in mid-summer.