Red Squirrel

Category:

Actual Size: 11–14”, including tail

Characteristics: Known for their smaller size, red squirrels have red fluffy fur with a white underbelly. They have a characteristic white eye ring.

Habits: 

  • Often confused for European red squirrels and fox squirrels.
  • Territorial in behavior
  • Widely distributed across North America

Red Squirrels in Eastern Tennessee

The red squirrel is often known as the pine squirrel, chickaree, or North American red squirrel. Compared to other squirrels in the region, the red squirrel is much smaller. They are usually slightly larger than a chipmunk. It typically feeds on conifer cones They are considered granviores but may feed on other items. They have also been observed feeding on spruce buds, needles, mushrooms, flowers, and berries.

Red Squirrel Habitat

Red squirrels are widely dispersed throughout the North American continent, typically wherever conifer trees are found. They build their nests mostly out of the grass in tree branches. They very rarely nest below the ground. Usually, red squirrels have several nests in their respective territories. Red squirrels have been reported nesting in homes using insulation as their material.

Red Squirrel Behaviors, Threats or Dangers

Red squirrels are known to be one of the more territorial species of squirrels. They are very active throughout the entire year. Female red squirrels give birth in the spring with three to seven offspring in each litter. Red squirrels prefer nesting in trees outside your home but, as mentioned previously, they have been known to make their way indoors. If they get inside, they could use your insulation as the material for their nesting.

Red Squirrel Prevention

To prevent a red squirrel infestation, seal all possible entry points around the house, including small openings and cracks around doors and windows. Screen vents and openings to chimneys and keep food in airtight containers. Keep tight-fitting lids on trash bins and cut tree limbs back 6 to 8 feet from the roofline. Thoroughly inspect wires, insulation and walls for gnaw marks which signal a possible infestation.