30 March 2022
It’s hard to take a bad picture of an American red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus). When they pose they look so cute that it’s hard to believe they are asocial, combative and confrontational.
This sleeping squirrel seems to be saying, “I love you, tree.”
Ready to fight? Still cute.
Though they rarely encounter each other — perhaps for their own safety — red squirrels fight when there’s more than one. Most of their battles are a lot of shouting and chasing while the resident squirrel defends his territory.
Defending the midden (food store) is a matter of survival that’s learned in the first year of life. Juvenile red squirrels must find a territory and midden before their first winter or they won’t make it to next spring. Only 22% survive to one year old.
For a few, just 15%, their mothers bequeath them a territory but it still has to be defended. The red squirrels who survive are the most confrontational.
(photos from Wikimedia Commons; click on the captions to see the originals)