Red Squirrel

Red squirrel sitting on a branch in a tree with a cone.
Red squirrels are common within the park.

NPS

 
Black track of a red squirrel
Red squirrel track

Scientific Name

Tamiasciurus hudsonicus

Identification

  • 11–15 inches long, 6.7–7 ounces.
  • Brownish-red on its upper half; dark stripe above white ventral side; light eye ring; bushy tail.
  • Quick, energetic.
  • Loud, long chirp to advertise presence; much more pronounced in the fall.

Habitat

  • Spruce, fir, and pine forests; young squirrels found in marginal aspen habitat.
  • Eat conifer seeds, terminal buds of conifer trees, fungi, some insects; sometimes steal young birds from nests.
  • Preyed on by coyotes, grizzly bears, hawks.

Behavior

  • Breed February through May, typically March and April; one litter of 3–5 young.
  • One of the park’s most territorial animals; territorialism ensures winter food supply.
  • In fall, cuts cones from trees and caches them in middens, which are used for years and can be 15 by 30 feet; grizzlies search out these middens in whitebark pine and limber pine habitat to obtain the nuts.
 
A wolf standing on a snowy bank near brown grass howls

Mammals

Home to the largest concentration of mammals in the lower 48 states.

Last updated: July 12, 2017

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190-0168

Phone:

307-344-7381

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