About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

What American Red Squirrels Eat

Munching on a cone outside the
The American Red Squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) is one of three species of tree squirrel currently classified in the genus Tamiasciurus and known as pine squirrels (the other are the Douglas squirrel T. douglasii and Mearns's squirrel T. mearnsi). They are a medium sized (8 ounces) diurnal mammal that defends a year-round exclusive territory of about 2 acres. 

The diet of these tree squirrels consists of a variety of seeds, fruits, nuts, berries and they are especially fond of the seeds of conifer cones. These squirrels are common in Michigan and have been expanding their range wherever there are conifers.

White spruce cones mature in late July and are harvested by red squirrels in August and September. These harvested cones are stored in a central cache and provide energy and nutrients for survival over the winter and following spring.

Red squirrels also clip and gather truffles and other fungi and place them along the branches of trees to dry them in the sun. [1]
Posing pretty for my camera

Called the "tattle tales" of the forest, Reds chip, chatter and chase away any other squirrel, including other red squirrels, in their territory. Juvenile American Red Squirrels need to acquire a territory, shelter, and a pile of  food prior to their first winter or they will not survive. 

On average only 22% survive one year. If they do make their first year, life expectancy increases to an average of 2.3 years and with a maximum lifespan of eight years.

1. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_red_squirrel

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2 comments:

Mexigogue said...

What happened to the black squirrels in the East Lansing area? I haven't seen any in years. Were they discriminated against by the non black squirrel realtors??

Anonymous said...

Oh my-- we have lots of black squirrels- the EL squirrels must all be congregating in my yard!!