Mammals: Red Squirrel

Photo of Red Squirrel

Autumn is a busy time for Red Squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) as they shore up stashes of tree seeds (often entire cones of conifers, but also seeds of Oak, Maple, Hickory, Walnut, etc.) to sustain them through the white season. In addition to these foods, Red Squirrels put up mushrooms. According to the Peterson Reference Guide to Behavior of North American Mammals (2011), "They harvest and hang [mushrooms] along branches of trees to dry, like poorly placed Christmas ornaments, before stashing them in a cache belowground" (p. 270-71). Other food sources include the buds, inner bark, sap, flowers, and fleshy fruit of certain shrubs and trees, as well as insects, small mammals, birds, and more. And where humans put out seeds and suet (usually intended to attract birds), these reddish-brown rodents may be seen enjoying the offerings.

To learn more about Red Squirrels, visit Animal Diversity Web.

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