The red squirrel, Tamiasciurus hudsonicus, is the most commonly seen member of the squirrel family in Edmonton’s natural areas. The red squirrel is a feisty rodent; you have no doubt heard the distinct chattering noise made by the red squirrel to announce its presence and defend its territory. This chattering is often accompanied by tail flicking and foot stomping. If you have ever seen two of these squirrels together you are in for an entertaining and often acrobatic sight as they will chase one another through the trees when staking territory.
As its common name implies, the red squirrel has a reddish coloured coat. The coat
thickens as cooler weather arrives since the red squirrel does not hibernate and remains active throughout the winter months. The coat is contrasted by a white underbelly, white mouth, and white rings around the eyes. Like other rodents, the red squirrel has large front teeth that are constantly being worn down and will continue to grow throughout its lifetime. It can be distinguished from the least chipmunk — Edmonton’s other common member of the squirrel family — by the white and black stripes the chipmunk has on its face and back.
Life in Edmonton doesn’t come without its perils for the red squirrel. Winter survival is dependent on food storage and its main food source, pine cones, can fluctuate depending on the year. Despite their attempts to appear as a tough prey, they face their fair share of predators. Coyotes, owls, hawks, weasels, crows, and housecats all prey on red squirrels. Of course, there is also the pressure of urban development that can threaten their habitat, but the red squirrel is an opportunistic and adaptive rodent which will no doubt continue to share our city with us – chattering, stomping its feet, and sometimes invading our birdfeeders. (https://natureedmonton.wordpress.com/2013/08/27/the-red-squirrel/)