The American Red Squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) is a small tree squirrel native to North America. This species is known for its vibrant reddish-brown fur covering most of its body. American Red Squirrels typically measure around 12 to 14 inches (30 to 36 cm), including their bushy tails, accounting for two-thirds of their total length. They have white underbelly and large, alert eyes. In addition to their characteristic reddish coat, some individuals may exhibit variations in color, including gray and blackish tones.
Habitat and Range
American Red Squirrels are commonly found in coniferous and mixed forests throughout North America. They are highly adaptable and thrive in various forest types, including spruce, pine, and fir. These squirrels are particularly abundant in boreal forests but can also be seen in urban and suburban areas, especially where suitable tree cover is present. Their range extends from Alaska and Canada to the northern United States.
Behavior and Diet
American Red Squirrels are highly active and agile climbers. They spend much of their time in trees, building elaborate nests known as “dreys” made of twigs, leaves, and other materials. These nests are often located in the forks of branches or tree cavities. They are territorial and defend their territories fiercely, frequently engaging in vocal displays and chattering. Their diet primarily consists of seeds, nuts, berries, fungi, tree bark, and plant matter. They are known for caching food for future consumption, often burying nuts and seeds in several locations.
American Red Squirrels breed once or twice a year, with their mating season typically occurring in late winter or early spring. The females have a gestation period of around 35 days, after which they give birth to a litter of 3 to 7 young, called kits. The kits are born hairless and helpless, relying on their mother for care and nourishment. They gradually develop and leave the nest at around 10 weeks, becoming sexually mature at around one year old.
The American Red Squirrel is not considered a globally threatened species. Its populations are generally stable, although localized declines may occur due to habitat loss or fragmentation. These squirrels play an essential role in forest ecosystems by dispersing seeds and helping to regenerate forests.
American Red Squirrels are generally not aggressive toward humans unless they feel threatened or cornered. Like wild animals, they may bite or scratch if they perceive a threat. However, they are usually more interested in foraging for food and defending their territories against other squirrels.
While American Red Squirrels do not pose a significant threat to the property, they may occasionally chew on wooden structures or electrical wires, especially if they nest near human dwellings. It’s advisable to take preventive measures, such as sealing off entry points and keeping tree branches trimmed away from structures.
To discourage American Red Squirrels from your garden, consider using wire mesh or fences around vulnerable areas to prevent them from accessing bird feeders, flower beds, or vegetable gardens. Additionally, removing potential food sources, such as fallen fruits or nuts, can help reduce their presence. However, it is essential to ensure that these actions comply with local regulations regarding the treatment of wildlife.
If you’re facing issues with American Red Squirrels on your property, contact our professional extermination service to ensure a safe and effective resolution. Our team of experts can assist you in managing and controlling squirrel populations while adhering to ethical and legal guidelines.