The Red Squirrel is one of the some 40 different species of the squirrel
. Although it has many close relative
s, there are many things about the Red Squirrel that make it both unique
The Red Squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) can be traced through the classifications as follows:
What They Look Like
The Red Squirrel can be found in Alaska, across Canada, the northeast United States south to the Appalachian states and also northern Rocky Mountains. They are about 6 to 9 inches in length with a bushy tail slightly shorter than their body - however the tail is not as bushy or thick as many other squirrel species. Their fur ranges in shades of red (who would have guessed?!) between light and dark red and can sometimes be affected by the current season. Their bellies are cream or white in color and often have a matching cream or white tip on the tail as well as a white band outlining their large black eyes.
It's Chow Time!
The Red Squirrel are very open when it comes to their diet, they are not picky eaters. They are also known for storing more food than an animal of their size could consume, making them what is called "wasteful" savers. For starters, some of the things they will not hesitate to eat are seeds, nuts, fruit, bark, tree sap, insects, reptiles, fungi (which includes mushrooms that are poisonous for humans), pine cones, eggs, mice, and young birds and rabbit. When it finds mushrooms, it will rip them into strips and dry them out. It will also harvest green pine cones from trees and eat the seeds that are on the ends of the petals. Even though most of the food that they bury will mostly likely remain where it was hidden, this makes Red Squirrels a huge helper in spreading seeds and creating plenty of new trees.
Quite the Architect
Red Squirrels likes to builds nests in the forks of trees and puts together a slew of materials to build quite the castle. These nests are made of layers each containing things that are beneficial to its layer and serving a purpose. The outside structure is usually made of twigs and needles, also have grass and leaves woven in as well. There is also an inside sleeping chamber that is roughly 4 to 6 inches across that is lined with softest things that the squirrels can get their paws on. The soft stuff usually ends up being bird feathers, dried grasses, animal fur and then such. The work is never done though as the squirrels are always working on their nests keeping them insulated, waterproofed and in tip-top shape as possible.
Let The Games Begin
When it comes to the mating season in late winter and early spring, the squirrels sure know how to make the most of it. Several males chase each other all over the tops of the trees from branch to branch trying to make his place for the one female they are all battling for. All the while, the female has her eyes on these males evaluating them and making mental notes of the strongest and fastest. When she has made this decision the male proceeds to follow her around until she is ready to mate. After the next step of nature has run its course, the male returns to his territory and the female is left to do the rest.
With an average gestation period of 40 days, 4 or 5 will be born. They are quick to develop and start getting weaned at about 7 to 8 weeks after birth. The young leave the nest after 18 weeks with a 25 percent chance of surviving to sexual maturity (usually 1 year of age). However, if they do make it that far, they can live up to 7 years in the wild.
- Personal Knowledge