I can see many squirrels running around everyday in Vancouver. Even when I’m typing this sentence down, there is a dark grey one running into my sight. Their daily occurrences have triggered my interest to observe these animals, and to know more about them.
The squirrels that I see most often have a dark grey colour, so they got the name “Eastern grey squirrel” that relates to their appearances, often called “grey squirrels” for short. The Eastern grey squirrel is eastern North America’s native species, and was introduced into Stanley Park in 1912. Its buffed ears and white to pale grey tail make the grey squirrel seems to be quite adorable, however, it is ranked as one of the Top 100 Invasive Species in the world, since it is competing with other native species in many aspects. It not only eats the birds’ eggs and nestlings, but also spreads diseases among other squirrel species.
Another common squirrel species in BC is the American red squirrel. Its reddish fur with a white venter makes it quite distinguishable among other squirrels. Its “clucking” sounds and high-pitched bird-like tones, along with angry chatters can also be heard quite often. Since seeds of conifer cones is a major part of its diet, squirrels of this species usually stay in places where conifers commonly grow. Similar to the grey squirrels, the red squirrels are also predators of eggs and nestlings. Furthermore, they are sophisticated with gnawing away the tips of sugar maple twigs at the right time. The sap they got from snapping the twigs often go to their diet.
The squirrel species that is harder to identify is the Douglas squirrel, which has a varying appearance due to the change of seasons. They have a greyish colour like the grey squirrels in the summer, and their fur becomes browner in the winter. Similar to the red squirrels, the Douglas squirrels eat the seeds of coniferous trees, but other vegetables such as berries and mushrooms are also parts of their diet. It is quite interesting that most of the squirrels would eat the eggs and nestlings of birds and drive the birds out of their nests, since all of the three common species in BC share this same habit.
Along with the grey squirrels, red squirrels and Douglas squirrels, there are lots of other squirrel species in BC including the fox squirrels, arctic ground squirrels and many others. These creatures make up an essential part of the food chain in this province by consuming insects, seeds, nuts, and many other foods.
1. Wikipedia. (2017) Eastern Gray Squirrels. Retrieved Feb. 16 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_gray_squirrel
2. Invasive Species Council of BC. (2014) Eastern Grey Squirrels. Retrieved Feb. 17 from http://bcinvasives.ca/invasive-species/identify/invasive-animals/eastern-grey-squirrel/
3. AAA Wildlife Control. (2017) Squirrel Facts & Squirrel Information. Retrieved Feb. 17 from http://www.vancouverwildlife.com/squirrels/squirrel-facts
4. Wikipedia. (2017) American Red Squirrel. Retrieved Feb. 17 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_red_squirrel
5. Fletcher Wildlife Garden. (July 14, 2012) Red Squirrels at the FWG. Retrieved Feb. 17 from http://www.ofnc.ca/fletcher/flora-fauna/squirrels/red-squirrels_e.php
6. Wikipedia. (2017) Douglas Squirrel. Retrieved Feb. 17 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_squirrel
1. Walter Siegmund. (April 4, 2008) Douglas Squirrel. Retrieved Feb. 17 from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tamiasciurus_douglasii_37808.JPG
2. Cephas. (Mar 3, 2010) American Red Squirrel. Retrieved Feb. 17 from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tamiasciurus_hudsonicus_CT.jpg
3. BirdPhotos.com (Mar 3, 2010) Eastern Grey Squirrel. Retrieved Feb. 17 from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Eastern_Grey_Squirrel.jpg