Animal Profile: Red Squirrels

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Scientific Name: Sciurus Vulgaris

Family: Sciuridae

Class: Mammalia

Order: Rodentia

Trophic Level: Omnivorous

Conservation Status: Least Concern (Population Decreasing)

Female Name: Doe

Male Name: Buck

Baby Name: Kits or Kittens

Group Name: Dray, Colony and Scurry

Lifestyle: Arboreal, Altricial

Diet: Granivore

 

 

The Eurasian red squirrel is a species of tree squirrel in the genus Sciurus. Living to the age of 10 years old the red squirrel can be found in northern Europe and Siberia living in coniferous forests, mixed forests, deciduous woods, parks, gardens and small stands of conifers.

 

Threats

  • Habitat Loss
  • Squirrel pox (a virus carried by grey squirrels and fatal to red squirrels)
  • Grey squirrel populations 
  • Food competition
  • Predators

 

Diet

Scientists consider red squirrels as omnivores even though they are mostly herbivorous their diet consists of:

  • Pinecone seeds
  • Hazelnuts
  • Chestnuts
  • Beech nuts
  • Berries
  • Fungus
  • Leath growth

However, sometimes red squirrels will eat eggs and small mammals this behaviour is consistent with other members of the rodent family.

 

Do They Make Good Pets

The short answer is NO. Red squirrels have not been domesticated in any way, and even though you see videos of people who have rescued squirrels. They know what they are doing and always have a good reason to keep them like they don’t have the survival skills or have a spiralled tail like this squirrel.

 

Reproduction

Mating Behaviour: Polygyny

Reproduction Season: February-March, June-July

Pregnancy Duration: 36-40 Days

Independent Age: 7 Weeks

 

Reproduction

Female squirrels can produce two litters of offspring a year. The gestation period of a squirrel is just over a month-long the female will give birth to a litter of 3 – 4 kits.

The kits start searching for their own food when they are just 40 days old but don’t get fully weaned until they are 8 – 10 weeks old. Instead of reaching sexual maturity at a certain age females must reach a specific size and weight.

 

Facts

  • Red Squirrels have two toes and four fingers on each foot.
  • They aren’t always red.
  • Red squirrels can swim.
  • They can hang upside down.
  • Reds do not hibernate in the winter. Instead, they rely on food that they buried before winter and can locate food supplies in over 1 foot of snow.

 

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