Red Squirrel - Tamiasciurus hudsonicus
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!
The red squirrel is found in most parts of Alaska and Canada. It is also found in the Rocky Mountain states and in the eastern United States, including New Hampshire, south to northern Virginia and west to Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio.
The red squirrel eats a wide variety of foods including insects, seeds, bark, nuts, fruits, mushrooms, and pine seeds or cones. Sometimes it eats young birds, mice, and rabbits. A large part of its diet is made up of pine seeds.
In the fall, the red squirrel cuts green pine cones from trees and stores 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.
Mating season is in the late winter. About a month after mating, the female has a litter of between three to seven babies. The babies are weaned after seven or eight weeks and 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.
The red squirrel is most active in the early morning and the late afternoon. It is a solitary animal, except for mothers and their young. The red squirrel makes its nest in a variety of places including hollows in the ground, in tree hollows, logs, or crotches in trees. The red squirrel is very vocal and chatters, growls, and screeches.