The Subnivean Zone

Deep, fluffy snow is a blessing – assuming you spend time underneath the protective snowpack, insulated from the cold and hidden from predators. Grouse know about this, as do meadow voles and red squirrels.

Wait for it….

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Tunneling in the subnivean zone enables Red Squirrels to thrive in deep snow and survive the harshest of winters. I watched this one for half an hour as it expanded its elaborate tunnel system (with 4 access holes that kept me guessing) under piles of fresh snow. It can now sprint 40 feet, spruces trees to feeders, sight unseen!

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Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

13 thoughts on “The Subnivean Zone

    • Thanks for the great feedback. I didn’t know much about this subject until moving into the snow belt and thought it would be of interest to those in less snowy places. You proved me right! PS – we have 15-18 inches of heavy snow now, melting under warmer temps. The deer are restricted somewhat and concentrated where food is available – cedar thickets, standing corn, south slopes, etc. Most bucks have lost their antlers.

      • We are watching deer via game cameras and none of them have shed their antlers yet. We have not had a bit of snow yet this year… nor moisture of any kind.

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