Thursday, January 24, 2013

Red Squirrel


Red Squirrel | Red squirrel or Eurasian red squirrel is a species of tree squirrel in the genus Sciurus, it is common throughout Eurasia. Red squirrel is a tree, omnivorous rodent. The red squirrel is found in both coniferous forest and temperate broadleaf forests. In America Red squirrel can be found in most parts of Alaska and Canada. It is also found in the Rocky Mountain states and in the eastern United States south to northern Virginia and west to Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. In Britain and Ireland, the number of Red squirrel have dropped dramatically in recent years, partly due to the introduction of the eastern gray squirrel from North America. 


The coat of the Red squirrel varies in color with the time of year and location. There are several different coat color morphs ranging from black to red. Red coats are most common in Britain, in other parts of Europe and Asia different coat colors co-exist within populations, like hair color in some human populations. The bottom of the Red squirrel always white-cream color. The red squirrel sheds its coat twice a year, switching from a thinner summer coat with thicker, darker winter coat with noticeably larger ear-tufts (a prominent distinguishing feature of this species) between August and November. A lighter, redder overall coat color, along with the larger ear-tufts (in adults) and much smaller size, distinct from the Red squirrel of the American eastern gray squirrel. 


Scientific classification
Kingdom:     Animalia
Phylum:     Chordata
Class:     Mammalia
Order:     Rodentia
Family:     Sciuridae
Genus:     Sciurus
Subgenus:     Sciurus
Species:     S. vulgaris

Red squirrel, like most tree squirrels, has sharp, curved claws to climb and descend broad tree trunks, thin branches and even house walls. Its strong hind legs to jump gap between trees.Red squirrel also has the ability to swim. It is thought that the long tail helps the squirrel to balance and jumping from tree to tree along branches and may keep the animal warm during sleep to send. Red squirrel has a typical head-length of 19-23 cm, a tail length of 15 to 20 cm and a weight of 250 to 340 g. It is not sexually dimorphic, such as male and female are equal. Red squirrel is slightly smaller than the eastern gray squirrel. 


Red squirrel eats a wide variety of foods including insects, seeds, bark, nuts, fruits, mushrooms and pine nuts or cones. Sometimes eats insects, young birds, mice and rabbits. A large part of its diet consists of pine nuts. In the fall, cut the green pine cones from the trees and store them in the ground. It also stores nuts and seeds in piles or circles under logs, at the foot of trees and below ground. It does not always find or eat all the seeds and nuts it has stored. Because of this, Red squirrel fills an important niche in the dispersal of seeds in the forest. Arboreal predators include small mammals, including the pine marten, wildcats, and the stoat, which preys on nestlings, birds, including owls and birds of prey like hawks and buzzards, also Red squirrel. The red fox, cats and dogs may prey on the red squirrel as it on the ground. 


Red squirrel makes a nest of branches in a branch-fork, the formation of a dome-shaped structure. This is covered with moss, leaves, grass and bark. Tree cavities and woodpecker holes are also used. Red squirrel is a solitary animal and is shy and reluctant to share food with others. However, outside the breeding season and particularly in the winter, a number of red squirrels share a nest to stay warm. The active period for the red squirrel in the morning and late afternoon and evening. It often lies in its nest in the middle of the day, avoiding the heat and the high visibility of the birds of prey dangers during these hours. During the winter, this mid-day rest is often much more brief, or absent entirely, although harsh weather may cause the animal in its nest for the day stay at a time. 


Red squirrel can migrate short distances when food supplies are low. The red squirrel drinking also tree sap from maple trees. It bites a tree to the sap flows out and returns to drink the water after the juice has evaporated. Red squirrel is most active in the early morning and late afternoon. It is a solitary animal, except for mothers and their young. Red squirrel makes its nest in a variety of places including hollows in the ground, in tree hollows, logs or cross in the trees. Red squirrel is very vocal and chatters, growls and screams. People affect the population size and mortality of Red squirrel by destroying or altering habitats, by causing traffic accidents, and by controlling populations of gray squirrels.

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