Red Squirrel


Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris)

Identification:

The common red squirrel is the largest of our squirrels, with a long-tail and fur that is dark above and light below. In winter the rusty colour seems very bright, while in the summer the colour darkens noticeably. It is one of our best-known mammals, whether it is raiding bird feeders for sunflower seeds and peanuts, or in the woods scolding visitors. What’s a walk in an Island forest without meeting a red squirrel high above on a branch, stamping its foot and trying to drive you out of its territory. They really make the woods seem alive. While this might seem like aggression, they are just as likely to come down and bum some food if you happen to be eating a cookie or peanuts.

 

Habitat:

Though ideally suited for forest life, being quick, agile climbers, red squirrels can be nuisances around homes. They think nothing of using an attic for a den, or digging holes under your house to store winter food. Red squirrels are very adaptable, at home in coniferous forests but able to thrive just about anywhere. They prefer to nest in tree cavities but will sometimes live in rotted stumps or piles of stones.

Feeding:

Red squirrels are known as seed and nut eaters – everything from balsam fir seeds to beaked hazelnuts and acorns. They will also eat insects, fruit, fungi and birds eggs, and spend much of their time storing food. In good years, they put away far more than they can eat, spreading seed throughout a wide area.

Conservation:

Of our native squirrels, the red squirrel has been most successful at adapting to the changes in the Island landscape. While they are an integral part of Island forests, they seem well able to survive. Some seed bearing trees and a place to den meets most of their needs.

Upcoming Events

Jul
3
Mon
9:00 am Becoming a Naturalist Week 1
Becoming a Naturalist Week 1
Jul 3 @ 9:00 am – Jul 7 @ 3:00 pm
This camp builds on the camper’s ability to encounter and describe the natural world. They will use journals, collecting equipment, and take part in many fun activities that will expand their understanding of how to
Jul
10
Mon
9:00 am Young Ecologists Week 1
Young Ecologists Week 1
Jul 10 @ 9:00 am – Jul 14 @ 3:00 pm
This camp will begin to introduce the campers to the amazing complexity of our native Acadian forests. They will dissect owl pellets, take part in forest restoration planning and plantings and develop their understanding of
Jul
15
Sat
2:00 pm Forest Restoration Workshop
Forest Restoration Workshop
Jul 15 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Forest Restoration Workshop @ Macphail Woods Nature Centre | Vernon Bridge | Prince Edward Island | Canada
The Forest Restoration workshop offers alternatives to clear-cuts and plantations, and other ideas on how to improve the health of Island forests. It starts with a presentation in the Nature Centre and then participants will