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
27
Sat
10:00 am Tracking the Mammals of PEI
Tracking the Mammals of PEI
Jul 27 @ 10:00 am – 11:30 am
Come on out and learn about the native and introduced mammals found on PEI, as well as a brief look at some of the mammals we’ve lost. After a brief slideshow, we’ll head off to
Aug
17
Sat
1:00 pm Volunteer Afternoon
Volunteer Afternoon
Aug 17 @ 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Come out and help with our work on our Native Plant Arboretum. We’ll have lots of tools and compost and mulch, and a variety of native shrubs, wildflowers and ferns to plant. This is already
Aug
25
Sun
2:00 pm Fourth Annual Festival of Forests
Fourth Annual Festival of Forests
Aug 25 @ 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Our Fourth Annual Festival of Forests will be a family-friendly event, with children’s activities, guided walks, food and micro-workshops. This will be a great opportunity to explore the wonders of the Acadian Forest.
Sep
21
Sat
7:00 pm September Stargazing
September Stargazing
Sep 21 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Learn about the night sky and get to know some constellations. This outing will teach some basics of astronomy and then head out into the dark for naked-eye stargazing
Oct
13
Sun
2:00 pm Autumn in the Forest
Autumn in the Forest
Oct 13 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
A walk along the trails of Macphail Woods, looking at both plants and animals. This is a great outing for people of all ages.

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