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Squirrel

Seasons

 

Eurasian Red squirrels (Sciurus Vulgaris) are stunning creatures. They're a skittish, solitary and highly territorial animal that can paradoxically display a surprising trust in apex predator swarms (human cities). Capable of trading adorable poses for nutty nutrients, they can adapt to life alongside us as well as they do the extreme cold (when we're not cutting down their homes of course). Evolved for high speed vertical travel and arboreal dwelling, these fascinating forest spirits are a joy to watch and interact with. Strap in for some interesting information regarding these gorgeous little fluffy-tailed tree rats.

Ginger Spice - playing with the spring flowers

Spring

Red squirrels change in appearance during the course of a year. In Spring you're more likely to see some freshlings like this (above), but they can be born throughout the year. They're usually born in groups of 3-5 and even this time of year they come off the factory line with a full winter coat. It will still moult by early summer, but it will last a ittle longer than older squirrels. Those stunning tufted ears will be the last thing to moult, but it will still go. Even more unfortunately this time of year brings ticks. Here in Sweden ticks carry the TBE virus as well as Lime Desease. The former has a vaccine, which I highly recommend getting if you're spending time with these cuties.

Summer

As spring progresses toward summer adult red squirrel's winter coat starts to moult and those beautiful tufted ears will disappear for a few months. This can mean they look a bit rough for a while, but their coat will settle into a more uniformly short and deeper red colour. Sometimes this can take a bit of fur with it, but don't be too concerned that it's health related. You might find your squirrels disappearing this time of year due to an abundance of food in the tree-tops, they will likely be quite happy up there where it's safer. 

Autumn

Transitioning from summer to Autumn happens quite quickly this far north. As the daylight hours diminish their winter coat will start to grow back. We saw the first tufty hairs starting to emerge from the 1st of September. The temperature remained very warm for about another month however, so their winter coat is more likely triggered by light rather than temperature. After only a week or two of the trees looking stunning, things turn empty, grey, dull, damp and depressing, but at least the squirrels have gotten their tufts back by this point (see above).

Scarlett - with full winter coat

Winter

Decending into winter and the temperatures dropping below 0°c (32°f), the red squirrel's will appreciate their winter coat, which will get progressively thicker and more silvery grey. Their ears will come back up to full tufty strength by the new year. Since tree dwelling rodents don't hibernate they will be looking for more help with food as they get further into the winter months. They will search for the food they cached, but when that runs out this is the best time to trade photo opportunities for high protein bribes.