Red Squirrels

By
Phyllis McMahon
Phyllis McMahon
Research Writer
Phyllis teaches English Literature at a local college and loves writing in her free time. She’s also a great cook – her British beef Wellington is something the best res read more
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Reviewed By
Chas Kempf
Chas Kempf
Expert Consultant
Chas works in a professional pest control company and knows all the nuances of this job. Also, he’s a fantastic tennis player and loves to organize BBQ parties for his fam read more
Last updated: January 02, 2023
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Grey Squirrels    Ground Squirrels    Red Squirrel  Rodentia Order
Wildlife    Squirrel Trap   Pest Control    Pests and Animals

Grey Squirrels and Red Squirrels are considered tree squirrels; ground squirrels include Arctic Ground Squirrel, Thirteen-Lined Ground Squirrel and several others.

The American Red Squirrel is the most common species of tree squirrels.  They are small reddish grey squirrels with white or cream color on their belly.  During the summer months red squirrels are identified by a black stripe on their side.  Slightly smaller than their cousin the grey squirrel, the red squirrel is 12 inches nose to tail. Its tail is not as long or bushy as other squirrels.  They shed their coats twice a year from a thinner summer coat to a darker winter coat.
Found in Alaska, Canada, the northeastern United States and southern Georgia, the American Red Squirrel makes its nest inside the cavity and at the tops of trees. Unlike their Grey Squirrel cousins, Red Squirrels are solitary animals very reluctant to share their food with others, although they share a den during the winter months to keep warm.  Active just before winter, they hoard lots of food in burrows in the ground, in neighboring trees and nests.  The American Red Squirrel eats the seeds of trees, bird eggs, berries, tree sap, pine seeds, and the Amanita mushroom which is poisonous to humans.  They are very active in the morning and late evening taking naps in the middle of the day to avoid the heat.
Adult female American Red Squirrels emit an odor letting adult males know they are ready to mate.  The male will then chase the female up to an hour before mating. Adults mate twice a year in March and April and August and September.  Babies are born blind and hairless and open their eyes after three weeks.  After mating the male adults have nothing to do with the babies.  Adult males and female will mate with multiple partners and if food is scarce, breeding may be delayed.
Predators to the American Red Squirrel are wild cats, owls, buzzards, cats, dogs, and the red fox.
Subspecies of the American Red Squirrel are the Chickaree, the Hudson Bay Squirrel and the Mt. Graham Red Squirrel.  The Mt. Graham Red Squirrel is found in the mountains of southeastern Arizona.  This red squirrel was determined extinct in the 1950s but was rediscovered in the early 1970s and added to the Federal Endangered Species List in 1987.

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