There are many species of squirrel or chipmunk type creatures. The basics will apply to any injured, orphaned at risk or problem 'squirrel'. The two most common that you will see are the indigenous Red Squirrel, also know as a Pine Squirrel or Chickaree, and the non-indigenous Eastern Grey squirrel.
Eastern Grey Squirrels
These are the large, 40-50cm (18-23 in.) grizzled gray or solid black squirrels that were introduced several years ago. This larger, fast maturing squirrel breeds twice annually - late winter and late spring - producing 2-3 babies in each litter and needs at minimum, 3 to 5 times the forage area (avg. 5 hectares-often up to 20 hectares) of a Red Squirrel.
Red Squirrel (Pine Squirrel, Chickaree)
These cheeky little fellows prefer forested areas, having a home range of 1-1.5 hectares. They are active all day and year round busily foraging for seeds (especially fir and pine cones), berries, eggs, fungi etc. Their short fur tends to be reddish brown on their backs and white or greyish white on their undersides. An adult is only 25-35 cm (10-12 in.) from nose tip to tail tip, their tails being 1/2-1/3 of their total size.
The females have one or two litters (3-7 babies) annually, usually early spring to late summer, nesting in hollow/downed trees, even building lofty leaf nests. The babies are born furless, weighing 13-17 gms (.5 oz), and for the first two weeks they are basically naked, deaf and blind. By the third week they have grown (some) fur, are cutting teeth, and begin to hear. Eyes open around 4 weeks, weaning begins at 6 weeks, ending at 9 weeks, with full adult size reached by 8-9 months.
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Sevenoaks, Abbotsford, B.C.
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