An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Red Squirrel’s Winter Coat

2-20-14 winter red squirrel IMG_0220There is a marked seasonal difference in the Red Squirrel’s appearance due to its two annual molts (spring and fall). In the winter, a broad rusty-red band extends along its back, from its ears to the tip of its tail. The Red Squirrel’s thicker winter coat also includes ear tufts, which no other species of squirrel in the Northeast possesses. Come spring, when the squirrel sheds again, it loses its ear tufts and its new coat is closer to an olive-green color than red.

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10 responses

  1. Bill On The Hill...

    What a great shot of the red squirrel Mary. The detail is beautiful.
    I know the challenge’s involved getting the little buggers to stand still long enough to get a shot off! BF…

    February 20, 2014 at 1:47 pm

  2. Suzanne Champlin

    I have a few grey squirrels in my back yard who have beautiful full coats on their bodies, but no hair on their tails (like rats). Do you know what causes this?

    February 20, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    • I wish I could give you an explanation, Suzanne, but I don’t have one. If anyone reading this does, it would be great to hear from you. (Mange and the start of spring shedding might contribute, but those are total guesses.)

      February 20, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    • Interesting! I’ve seen the same fox several times this winter, and it has the same problem you describe: a naked, rat-like tail. Hope these critters grow some new fur!

      February 20, 2014 at 3:39 pm

  3. I love their white eye liner!

    February 20, 2014 at 2:09 pm

  4. Irma Graf

    Thank you so much, Mary, for your always-enjoyable and informative posts!

    February 20, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    • You’re more than welcome, Irma. Thank you for your comments.

      February 20, 2014 at 9:33 pm

  5. Does that mean that the red hairs are longer, what are referred to as ‘guard hairs’? Great shot of Sparky!

    February 20, 2014 at 3:18 pm

  6. To be honest, I’m not sure, Eliza, but probably red squirrels, like a lot of mammals, have both guard hairs as well as underfur, so yes, I guess you could call them guard hairs as they protect the underfur and skin from water, snow, etc., which guard hairs do. Talk about a run-on sentence!

    February 20, 2014 at 9:37 pm

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