Today is National Squirrel Appreciation Day!
To celebrate, let's spotlight one of Alberta's native tree squirrels, the American red squirrel. Did you know that ONLY the American red squirrels and Northern flying squirrels are native to Alberta?
All of the grey and black tree squirrels we see in our cities are actually non-native Eastern grey squirrels, who have made their way from the Eastern provinces. The American red squirrel was here first!
Looking to spot red squirrels around town and in the mountains? American red squirrels most noticeable characteristics are their tail and eye rings. Their tail is bushy and dark red. The ring around their eyes is thick and white. The squirrels are about 12 inches long and have greyish, red, or rust-coloured fur with a white belly.
The squirrels eat mainly seeds and nuts, especially those of spruce and pine cones. They also eat a wide variety of other foods, such as mushrooms, flowers, fruits, and insects.
While many people love their adorable faces and antics, squirrels can sometimes cause problems for us in the city when they raid bird feeders or take up residence in our homes and buildings.
Consider squirrel proof bird feeders, keeping feeders away from tree branches, which are easily climbed and regularly checking and closing up any holes/loose fitting soffits/facia around your house with hardware cloth to prevent squirrel-human conflicts.
Keep our squirrels wild and happy, happy National Squirrel Appreciation Day!