Red Squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus)


Red Squirrel 


Red Squirrels are mammals from the Squirrel Family (Sciuridae) that includes two other "squirrels" in the area of French Hill Pond, the Gray Squirrel and Northern Flying Squirrel all of which are technically called tree squirrels. All tree squirrels climb trees. Other members of the Squirrel Family in the area of French Hill Pond include ground squirrels specifically the Woodchuck and Eastern Chipmunk. The family name, Sciuridae, means "shade-tail" because most members of this family have bushy tails that they habitually hold over their backs when they sit. Squirrels are of the order Rodentia, that is, rodents. The photograph above shows a Red Squirrel opening a cone to extract the seeds.

The Red Squirrel is the smallest tree squirrel on Mount Desert Island. It can be about eleven to 15 inches (27 to 38.5 centimeters) long. The upper body is grayish-red to rust-colored The tail is similarly colored with a bit more red. The undersides are white to grayish white. A black band may separate the upper colors from the underside colors.

This squirrel can be very noisy when disturbed emitting constant chirping and chucking sounds.

The Red Squirrel feeds primarily on nuts. It will strip pine cones of nuts and toss the cones to the ground. Acorns, mushrooms and berries are also eaten by this squirrel. It will also eat small birds and eggs. The Red Squirrel will bury nuts helping to propagate trees and shrubs.

This squirrel will build nests of shredded bark in trees, buildings or in a hole in the ground. It will have a litter of three to seven young in the spring. The photograph below shows a Red Squirrel foraging in Acadia National Park.

lRed Squirrel Foraging 

This common mammal will be seen virtually everywhere on Mount Desert Island. It will get into attics and other parts of buildings to establish nests or to get out of the weather particularly in winter. They can cause considerable damage by chewing electrical wires. Building owners must ensure that openings in buildings are blocked to keep these creatures out. The following photograph shows a red squirrel residing near buildings on French Hill Pond.

Red Squirrel on Rock

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