Cheeky Neighbors

Every year we have a couple of brown squirrels who take up residence in our garden. They first appear early in the spring for about 2 months. As the heat of summer approaches they disappear into thin air only to return in late summer. Throughout the fall they could not be busier, running, running everywhere with food packed cheeks. Back and forth across the deck, furniture and fence rails they scurry around from dawn to dusk. Obviously they are gearing up for the winter and preparing a cozy nest for two, but we always wonder where they disappear to in the summer months. I decided to do a little detective work to find out some squirrel facts.

Garden squirrel at Sensible Gardening

Firstly they are not a brown squirrel but a red squirrel. The red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) are native to Canada and are olive brown with white underparts. Their fur changes to a reddish tone in the fall. They are adapted to life in coniferous forests which we have in the back so I assume they are in the right place.

According to facts about the red squirrel they can apparently make a mess out of gardens or devastate a budding tree, none of which we have experienced. It must be that there is enough natural food sources for them without pestering us. We tend not to hang bird seed out in the summer because of mice, so we are not attracting them that way either.

Red squirrels are fast and agile and can jump great distances. They forage during the day on vegetable matter (seeds and cones). They can be active in cold weather but often wait it out in their comfy den burrowed in the ground.

They love to eat cones that they bite off the tree and collect later off the ground. They then store the cones in logs or under tree stumps. They can be quite noisy and chatter and scold to protect their territory. We have been put in our place on many occasions.

They like to nest in old hollow trees or even an old abandoned bird’s nest. They mate in April and have on average 4 babies in late May. The little ones stay with their Mom for two months, then head out to conquer the world on their own.

What I gathered from these red squirrel facts is during the summer months when they seem to disappear, they are obviously just too busy feeding and caring for the newborns to pay any attention to us. They are in the bush acting responsibly with no time to scurry around entertaining their neighbours.

(photo from pixabay)

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