Tree Squirrels

Squirrels are sometimes divided into three groups based upon their habits: tree squirrels, ground squirrels, and flying squirrels. Examples of all three are said to be found around the Lake, but the Red Squirrel is the only local tree squirrel.

The Red Squirrel is perhaps the most readily seen mammal around the Lake, very active during the day, this chatterbox is often seen scurrying about gathering conifer cones, mushrooms, and seeds for its winter cache.

red squirrelA red squirrel at home in its favourite haunt, a tree.

red squirrelA red squirrel stops to munch on what appears to be a seed from a pine cone. The squirrel’s favourite food is conifer seeds; it stockpiles the cones, as well as nuts and other seeds. After eating, it leaves a pile of shells and cones.

squirrel standingIt is rare to see a Red Squirrel which isn’t eating, running, or challenging all comers. For a moment, this one stopped, stood up, and looked around.

squirrelThe name squirrel comes from the Greek skiouros, which means shadow-tailed, because its large fuzzy tail could almost serve as an umbrella.

squirrel tracksThe squirrel was standing in the snow: its smaller forefeet (with four toes) are in front of its larger hind feet (with five toes). Had it been bounding across the snow they would have been reversed.

bounding red squirrelA red squirrel has travelled from 2 o’clock to 8 o’clock. When a squirrel bounds across the surface it lands first with its forepaws, and then swings its hindpaws in front and pushes off again. So, the bounding track shows the hindpaws infront of the forepaws—the reverse of the picture above, where the squirrel is stationary.

red squirrelA red squirrel shows acrobatic skills while eating a maple seed.

red squirrelWhile the squirrel has stores of food to last through the winter, when the there is a snow–free patch, such as under a tree in this December picture, the squirrel will still forage and eat what it can.

red squirrelThis squirrel accepts the offer of a pecan. This mid–February portrait shows the longer, softer, and grayer fir of wintertime. The forefeet have only four toes.

Information from Wikipedia: Red Squirrel.

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