Red-Tailed Squirrel

Red-Tailed Squirrel

Kingdom
Phylum
Subphylum
Class
Order
Family
Genus
SPECIES
Sciurus granatensis
Population size
Unknown
Life Span
6-11.5 yrs
WEIGHT
228-520 g
LENGTH
330-520 mm

Red-tailed squirrels are medium-sized tree squirrels. The color of their coat varies depending on location. It can range from dark orange to dull yellow sprinkled with black to all black. Their bellies can be white to bright orange-rust. These squirrels have bushy tails which are yellowish brown in color and may have a black tip. During the winter the color of their coat differs slightly from the summer coat.

Distibution

Red-tailed squirrels are found from southern Central to northern South America. They occur in Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago (also on Tobago), and Venezuela (also on Isla de Margarita). This species has been also introduced to a small area near Havana on Cuba. Red-tailed squirrels inhabit many types of forests and can also be found in picnic grounds.

Red-Tailed Squirrel habitat map

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Red-tailed squirrels are generally solitary creatures. They can be seen in groups only during the breeding season, feeding, or with their young. Even when these squirrels are in groups, they try to avoid each other. They even try to avoid one another when feeding and never stay in the same tree at one time with another individual. Red-tailed squirrels are diurnal and most of the day is spent resting. They don't spend much time jumping, climbing or doing other activities. Red-tailed squirrels are usually silent. Only when threatened, they will make a few short, hoarse sounds. They also can produce grunts, squeals and chase each other.

Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

Red-tailed squirrels are herbivorous. The mainly feed on fruits, nuts, and seeds. Their diet may also include different leaves, flowers, bark, and mushrooms.

Mating Habits

MATING BEHAVIOR
REPRODUCTION SEASON
late December-late October
PREGNANCY DURATION
2 months
BABY CARRYING
1-2 kittens
INDEPENDENT AGE
61 days
FEMALE NAME
doe
MALE NAME
buck
BABY NAME
pup, kit, kitten

Red-tailed squirrels have a polyandrous mating system. This means that females have more than one partner during a breeding season. These squirrels breed from late December to late October. Females can have 2-3 litters during a year with 1 or 2 kittens in each litter. The gestation period lasts around 2 months. Young are born hairless, with closed eyes and weigh around 9-10 g. Fur starts growing around 14 days after birth and their eyes open in 30-32 days after birth. Kittens stay in the nest around 6 weeks after birth. When the mother leaves the nest, she usually covers her young with nest material to hide them from predators. Females nurse their young around 61 days, after which they leave their offspring. Both, males and females in this species reach reproductive maturity at around 1 year of age.

Population

Population threats

There are no major threats to Red-taied squirrels at present.

Population number

According to IUCN, the Red-tailed squirrel is locally common throughout its range but no overall population estimate is available. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are stable.

Ecological niche

Due to their diet, Red-tailed squirrels disperse the seeds of the fruits and flowers that they feed on. Thus, having a big impact on the ecosystem of their range, helping many plants survive.

References

1. Red-Tailed Squirrel on Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red-tailed_squirrel
2. Red-Tailed Squirrel on The IUCN Red List site - https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/20010/115154583

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