Red Squirrel

Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day. Genesis 1:31

In the mountains where I live, we have only one species of tree squirrel. I’ve seen them in different hues of red, and their underside can range from orange to bright white as seen in the above photo. Their dark eyes are highlighted by the thin, white outer ring of fur which make them look almost clown-like to me. Red Squirrels, or pine squirrels as the locals call them, are quite vocal. They chirp and yap at most any intruder, including humans. They also chatter in an attempt to protect their food cache (midden), which consists of conifer cones.

In the fall these squirrels spend time in large conifer trees cutting cones off branches with their teeth. Then they return to the ground and scurry about collecting the cones and hiding them in their midden, which can be quite large. Large as in about the size of a small truck. This is their food source throughout the winter, and they sometimes use it for more than one year.

Although these forest dwellers feed mostly on the seeds of conifer cones, they also eat berries, tree bark, buds, and sap, along with mushrooms and flowers. They can actually eat meat, and will dine on insects and bird eggs if they find them.

I’ve noted that these squirrels can be a bit of a problem when I’m trying to sneak up on an animal in the woods. Once the squirrel sees me, he goes into a tizzy with his vocal yakking and chirping, alerting most everything within a hundred yards that there is an invader lumbering about. But there have also been times when a squirrel has alerted me to other animals and birds of prey which I would have missed seeing if not for the squirrel’s loud barking. So I guess it evens out in the end.

Since I see and/or hear these squirrels almost every time I’m in the mountains, I can’t imagine the woods without them. Maybe someday they’ll get used to me trekking around out there and calm down a bit.

Probably not.

But it’s still good to see them each time anyway.

Hope you have a great day.

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