Friday, 17 November 2017

American Red Squirrel (Écureuil roux)

     The American Red Squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) is a delightful little creature, full of charm and personality.


     This individual was feeding on the last few keys left on the Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum) in our backyard, and was scampering from one part of the tree to another, sometimes moving at lightening speed.


    This species does not enter into true hibernation and may often be seen in the winter, in temperatures as low as minus 25°, on a sunny day. It is strictly diurnal and is most active during the most comfortable hours of the day, morning and afternoon in summer and midday in winter.
     Although it garners seeds for storage underground this individual seemed content to make a meal of what was left on the tree.
     


     American Red Squirrels share their habitat with larger Grey Squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis) but are quite fearless and readily rout them if they dare to trespass. Red Squirrels are so often seen chasing Grey Squirrels it gave way to the myth that the Red Squirrel castrates its larger cousin!
     Squirrels are a nuisance for anyone feeding birds, but this little charmer is far less of a problem that Grey or Black Squirrels. It is never seen to be as voracious and seldom cleans out a feeder.
     I have always enjoyed this description of American Red Squirrel by the American zoologist, Clinton Merriam.

The Chickaree combines qualities so wholly at variance, so unique, so incomprehensible, and so characteristic withal, that one scarcely knows in what light to regard him. His inquisitiveness, audacity, inordinate assurance, and exasperating insolence, together with his insatiable love of mischief and shameless disregard of all the ordinary customs and civilities of life, would lead one to suppose that he was little entitled to respect; and yet his intelligence, his untiring perseverance, and genuine industry, the cunning cleverness displayed in many of his actions and the irresistible humour with which he does everything command for him a certain degree of admiration. He is arrogant, impetuous, and conceited to an extreme degree, his confidence in his own superior capabilities not infrequently costing him his life. In fact, these contradictions in character and idiosyncrasies in disposition render him a psychological problem of no easy solution.

         I think that most of us would echo its sentiments!

24 comments:

  1. Oh yes, I would love to see the Red Squirrel, I haven't seen one. Beautiful photos David.

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  2. Such lovely photographs of the red squirrel.

    I always love to see squirrels. We have some grey ones that quite often sit and run down the branches in a nearby tree. So lovely to sit quietly and watch them.

    All the best Jan

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  3. Introduced American Greys have completely swamped the native Red Squirrels of Britain..............maybe your Reds are made of sterner stuff.

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    1. I think the difference is that the two species here have evolved together. In Britain the American Grey Squirrel is an invasive species that is free of most of the normal constraints it faces, as is often the case with intoruduced exotics (Think Common Starling and House Sparrow, Cane Toad in Australia, American Mink in the British Isles.......and so on).

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  4. We had them around a lot at the old house, between the stone fencerow and the bird feeders. But no grey ones.

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  5. A bolder red squirrel obviously that the English one as the grey squirrels are dominant there as you have mentioned above. I have only seen one squirrel in our garden which I am glad about or the birds would have a tough time. France only has red squirrels I am glad to say. Have a good weekend Diane

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  6. Without checking the size difference via Wiki etc, I have to say that the American Red Squirrel does look bigger than our European one and hence the former is more able to fight off the Grey. I have seen recent news that Red Squirrels are making small comebacks here and there in places where Greys are controlled. I hope so.

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  7. Hi David.

    Super the photos of the squirrel.

    Groettie from Patricia.

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  8. Hello, they are a pretty colored squirrel. I have seen the Black squirrels and we have plenty of gray squirrels. I am not sure if I have ever seen a Red Squirrel. Great photos. Thank you so much for your nice comment and visit. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend.

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  9. Being in the upper NE of the US, I am more familiar with gray squirrels. And do not particularly like them. To me, they seem stealthy and cunning. This, concerning stealing bird feed. ,-)

    The red one looks a bit "prettier" than the gray.<--Which doesn't mean much, but I am not a Naturalist. So forgive my being petty. ,-)

    Luna Crone

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    1. I have nothing against Grey Squirrels, especially when they are in a natural area. We have made our backyards so perfect for them that they have become habituated to human settlement and thrive in it. I admire their intelligence and their adaptability. I just wish they would leave my bird feeders alone!

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  10. Hi David. I'm delighted to see that you have a species of Red Squirrel there. Somehow they always seem so much more cute than the greys. Are your Red Squirrels like ours, with their tails turning white in the summer? This change makes them even more attractive in my opinion.

    My love to you both - - - Richard

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    1. Their tails do not turn white in the summer, Richard.

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  11. Hi David,
    Not a lover of the Grey Squirrel, I have to keep them well away from the Barn Owl box when we have young, they will enter and kill the Owlets. The Reds are a totally different kettle of fish, unfortunately we don't have any near to us.
    Hope you are both well, All the best, John

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  12. What a nice and beautiful pictures of this beautiful creature David.
    I like this.
    Greetings Tinie

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  13. There is just something about Squirrels that fascinates me.

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  14. As mentioned above, growing up in the southern UK it was all grey squirrels - but I have managed to live in places with reds as well. I think its all a matter of preference - but my (Australian) kids were in raptures seeing greys a few months ago!

    Of course, we go 'its just a possum' and visitors get very excited at out 'marsupial squirrels'!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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  15. hello David, luckely we still have a lot of Red Squirrel aroud here. Athough the greys have been seen here also. The captures you took are wonderful. So cute!
    Regards,
    Roos

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  16. A truly lovely post. I love squirrels and it does look like our grey squirrels but a much nicer colour.
    My favourite has to be the small red with the tufty ears that hopefully will make a grand comeback in some parts of the UK.
    Have a great Monday :)

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  17. Sensacionales fotos de esta preciosa ardilla americana, me han gustado mucho y también toda la información. David un abrazo desde España.

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  18. Hermoso animalito, es una especie que me gusta mucho, a pesar que por lo que veo en televisión no tienen buena fama. Hay una especie que creo es esta que se ha introducido en las cercanías de Buenos Aires y está trayendo problemas ya que incluso llega a roer los cables de los autos y de algunas instalaciones eléctricas, además de predar sobre la fauna nativa

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  19. Hello David,
    Back in the blogosphere, how frustrating to remain for 3 weeks without a connection!
    I love this cute squirrel, much nicer in many ways than the grey one!
    I didn't know you had them in Canada although not as red as our European one.
    Warm hugs and abrazos to you and Miriam, and keep well :)

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  20. oh, such a beauty !!! It would be nice to cuddle this squirrel!
    Happy Sunday !

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