American Red Squirrel
Come meet Randy, Pedro, and the rest of the gang! You’ll be exhausted just watching these bundles of energy!
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American red squirrels prefer coniferous forests, but can also be found in deciduous, swampy, and mixed forests! They are also very adaptable, inhabiting urban areas throughout Canada and parts of the United States of America.
This species is amongst the smaller of the tree squirrels. Their compact body, strong claws, and powerful back legs make them good at climbing, jumping, and running through trees. They can also rotate their feet 180°, allowing them to climb down trees whilst facing forwards!
The American red squirrel primarily eats seeds, but also feast on nuts, shoots, fruit, birds’ eggs, and mushrooms. These destructive rodents will also strip conifer cones to obtain the seeds inside, and sometimes strip back bark from trees, to feed upon the sweet sap. It has also been observed that these squirrels also eat mice and young rabbits!
5 – 10 years.
These arboreal creatures mainly live within trees, coming to the ground to sometimes forage and hide their food.
They are also good swimmers, being able to swim across rivers to reach the other side. They live in nests known as a ‘drey’, which can be found in crotches, hollows in the ground, or tree hollows. They are very vocal and loud animals, often chattering, growling, and screeching across the treetops.
Red squirrels have two fixed breeding seasons, one between March – May, and the other from August – September, both lasting 105 days. The females are only fertile for one day in each of these seasons, mating with up to 16 males. The female will give birth to 1 – 8 kittens in their drey, after a gestation of 33 – 35 days.
Red squirrels hang their mushrooms out to dry on tree branches, like we hang our washing! This helps keep the mushrooms better over winter!