Common Mammal Species of Northwestern Ontario





Tamiasciurus hudsonicus
Red Squirrel


Distinguishing Features - Overall colouration, olivy-brown back and sides with blackish flecks; underside, greyish. Large, bushy tail, tawny coloured with blackish and buff highlights; eye, ringed in white, ears, tufted in red or black.

Red Squirrel Size -
28 - 34 cm (11 - 13.4 in)


Widespread throughout Northwestern Ontario in various wooded environments; prefers spruce and pine; sometimes near swamps, marshes and suburban areas.


The red squirrel is an opportunistic eater. It will feed mainly on seeds, nuts and cones of conifers; buds, flowers bark, berries, and mushrooms; also insects, eggs, mice and young of small mammals when the opportunity arises.


Red squirrels do not hibernate but stay on the ground where they are active in an an extensive system of tunnels in the snow. They feed on a cache of food stored away during summer and fall.

Altohough the red squirrel is vulnerable to predation by hawks, owls, marten, fisher, lynx, bobcats, fox, wolves and coyotes, its numbers are high. A female will produce a litter of 2 to 7 offspring each year (in some years, two litters).

Less-common squirrels of Northwestern Ontario-

Eastern Fox Squirrel - Sciurus niger
Eastern Gray Squirrel - Sciurus carolinensis
Franklin Ground Squirrel - Spermophilus franklinii
Northern Flying Squirrel - Glaucomys subrinus

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