Q:

Where are red squirrels found?

A:

Quick Answer

Red squirrels can be found throughout Canada, Alaska and on both coasts of North America. They prefer to live in shady northern forests and spend most of their time high up in the trees.

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Full Answer

Red squirrels are named for the distinctive reddish-brown color of their backs. Their white underbellies are separated from the red on their backs by a lateral black stripe. Their tails are outlined by broad, black bands and have a white edging. An adult red squirrel can reach up to 15 inches long, with the tail almost half of this length.

Red squirrels create nests in trees, either among the branches or in a tree hole. The nests are about 12 inches in diameter and are located 60 feet or more above the ground. Made of twigs, bark, leaves, grass, feathers, fur and other material, the nests are created with plenty of escape routes. Abandoned woodpecker nests are the squirrels' favorite home. Red squirrels use the nests for shelter, rest and brood chambers. They do not hibernate.

Red squirrels eat the seeds of coniferous and deciduous trees. They also eat fruits, fungi, bark, tree sap and bird eggs. If available, they will eat young birds, mice, rabbits, gray squirrels and snakes. They actively gather food and store it in stashes called middens.

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