This article illustrates the most useful red squirrel facts including its habitat, diet, reproduction and subspecies. The red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) is a member of genus Sciurus and is also known as Eurasian red squirrel. The population of these rodents has been significantly decreased over the past few years in Great Britain. The introduction of eastern grey squirrel from the North America is one of the prime reasons for their extinction in Britain.
Red Squirrel Facts
The length of these squirrels measure around 19 – 23 cm (7.5 – 9 inches), together with a tail measuring 15 – 20 cm (5.9 – 7.9 inches).
These rodents weigh around 350 – 340 grams (8.8 – 12 oz).
Females and males are of the similar size.
Eastern grey squirrel is greater in size in comparison to the red squirrel in that the former measures 25 – 30 cm (9.5 – 12 inches) by length, with a weight measuring at 400 – 800 grams (14 oz – 1.8 lb).
These animals have a long tail that assists in marinating a balance while jumping around the trees. It also serves to keep the body warm during sleep.
Depends on the season and geographical location, red squirrels’ coat varies in color.
They have sharp claws that allow them to climb easily on tree trunks and branches.
Where Do Red Squirrels Live?
Red squirrel facts about its distribution and habitat display that these rodents mainly inhabits in the temperate broadleaf woodlands and coniferous forest. The diameter of the nest measures around 25 – 30 cm which is constructed with the help of leaves, moss, grass, and twigs. Leftover holes of woodpeckers are sometimes used as a habitat. These animals are solitary by nature and they don’t often share their foods with other animals.
Red Squirrel Facts | Reproduction
- The mating season ranges from February to March in winter; whereas in summer June and July are the mating months.
- Females litter up to 3 – 4 young annually, with an exception of 6 litters.
- The gestation period lasts for about 38 – 39 days.
- These young are blind when they’re born and the weight measures around 10 – 15 grams. They begin to see after 3 to 4 weeks and their body is shielded with hair for about 21 days. The young develop their teeth in 42 days. After 40 days, these young animals can eat solid food. The mother will continue to suckle its young for about 8 – 10 weeks.
- The lifespan of red squirrels is 3 – 4 years, with some species are expected to live 7 – 10 yearsin captivity.
What Do Red Squirrels Eat?
These species predominantly feed on seeds, trees, fungi nuts, hazelnuts, and fruits like berries. Red Squirrel also relies on bird eggs and shoots for their dietary needs. They tend to spend 70 to 80% of their daily time on eating. They largely feed early morning and dusk when their predators find hard to prey them.
Red Squirrel Facts | Threats
Some of the predators of these animals are wild cats, stoat, owls, eagles, buzzards, goshawk, red fox, and pine marten. Wild cats and dogs are the most common land predators when squirrels are on land. Habitat destruction is one of the major causes of their extermination from most of the places. Besides, few species have been reported to die in road accidents as well.
Red Squirrel Facts | Conservation
These animals have been given legal protection in Europe under the Bern Convention and are also placed on the Red List. In some places, red squirrels are hunted for its fur. The numbers have been dramatically reduced over the years especially in Great Britain. There are no more than 140,000 individuals left in Britain. 85% of these numbers exist in Scotland.
- S. v. alpinus. Desmarest, 1822. (Synonyms: S. v. baeticus, hoffmanni, infuscatus, italicus, meridionalis, numantius, segurae or silanus.)
- S. v. altaicus. Serebrennikov, 1928.
- S. v. anadyrensis.
- S. v. arcticus. (Synonym: S. v. jacutensis.)
- S. v. balcanicus. Heinrich, 1936. (Synonyms: S. v. istrandjae or rhodopensis.)
- S. v. chiliensis.
- S. v. cinerea.
- S. v. dulkeiti.
- S. v. exalbidus. (Synonyms: S. v. argenteus or kalbinensis.)
- S. v. fedjushini.
- S. v. formosovi.
- S. v. fuscoater. Altum, 1876. (Synonyms: S. v. brunnea, gotthardi, graeca, nigrescens, russus or rutilans.)
- S. v. fusconigricans. Dvigubsky, 1804
- S. v. leucourus. Kerr, 1792.
- S. v. lilaeus. Miller, 1907. (Synonyms: S. v. ameliae or croaticus.)
- S. v. mantchuricus. (Synonyms: S. v. coreae or coreanus.)
- S. v. martensi. (Synonym: S. v. jenissejensis.)
- S. v. ognevi. (Synonyms: S. v. bashkiricus, golzmajeri or uralensis.)
- S. v. orientis. 1906.
- S. v. rupestris. Thomas, 1907
- S. v. ukrainicus. Migulin, 1928. (Synonym: S. v. kessleri.)
- S. v. varius.
- S. v. vulgaris. (Synonyms: S. v. albonotatus, albus, carpathicus, europaeus, niger, rufus or typicus.)