Red Squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus)

red squirrel


  • About 30 centimetres (12 inches) long from tip of nose to tip of tail.
  • Weight is about 235 grams (8 ounces).


  • Is easily identified by its reddish- to greyish-brown coat on the back and head that contrasts with the pure white coat on its throat and belly.
  • Its tail makes up almost half of its length, and is used for balance as the squirrel jumps from tree branch to tree branch in its arboreal habitat.
  • Red squirrels can be found throughout Alberta‚Äôs forested areas.
Natural History


  • Preferred habitat for this species includes boreal coniferous or mixed forests.
  • Red squirrels will also take up residence in municipal areas if enough older trees are present.


  • Diet consists mainly of seeds and nuts, especially those of spruce and pine cones.
  • The red squirrel can also eat a wide variety of other foods, such as:
    • Birds' eggs
    • Flowers
    • Fruits
    • Insects
    • Mushrooms
    • Young birds in nests

When Active

  • Unlike some other squirrels, such as ground squirrels and chipmunks, red squirrels do not hibernate and are active throughout the year.
Reproduction and Growth

Breeding Behaviour

  • In Alberta, red squirrels breed in March or April.
  • Four to five pups are born in May or early June in the cavity of a tree, or in a nest built on the branch of a tree.
Conservation and Management


The red squirrel is classified as Secure in the current General Status of Alberta Wild Species report. See:

Current management


Specific season information is provided in the current Alberta Guide to Trapping Regulations. To view the guide online or to order a printed copy, visit the My Wild Alberta website at:


Page Information

Updated: May 13, 2010