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Nature Notebook – Red Squirrel

Pugnacious and adorable…two words not normally used together to describe an animal. However, they perfectly sum up the red squirrel.

A red squirrel is only five inches tall. What he lacks in stature he makes up for in attitude. He charges at larger squirrels or birds that encroach upon his territory, especially if they are too close to his food cache or den. However, he is not reckless enough to engage the interlopers in a physical skirmish, which he, undoubtedly, would lose.

If one keeps that thought in mind, then the pervasive belief that red squirrels castrate gray squirrels becomes unbelievable. Grays are two to three times heavier and larger than reds. It would be impossible for the smaller squirrel to accomplish such a precise attack upon his larger cousin without suffering grave injuries.

Pieces of mushrooms found on branches can be attributed to the red’s resourcefulness. The dried fungus will be available when his winter food stores run low.