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….



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!


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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