American Red Squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) are generalists in every way, exhibiting a wide range of opportunistic behaviors that enables them to survive and prosper in some of the harshest winter weather on earth.
Red Squirrels plan for winter, cutting and caching conifer cones in late summer. They’re tree squirrels, but are equally at home in the subnivean zone (the open, shallow layer that forms under deep snow due to ground heat), tunneling to avoid predators and harsh weather.
Though conifer seeds are preferred food, they’ll eat just about anything, including the buds and inner bark of woody plants. They’re even known to chew into a maple twig in late winter and dine on the sweet sap. To top it all off, Red Squirrels are fast, feisty and fearless little rodents that will go to great lengths to defend their precious territories.
I have a love – hate relationship with these squirrels. They’ve mastered the cute factor and provide hours of enjoyment in the dead of winter. They can also be destructive, damaging structures and their contents.
At the moment, we have a pretty cozy, mutually beneficial relationship.
Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.