Squirrels are small and pretty rodents that belong to the Sciuridae family. This family also includes other members such as ground squirrel, tree squirrel, chipmunks, flying squirrels, and marmots. While rodents are small, but at the same time, they can be aggressive too. When these rodents fight with each other, it becomes joyful. Today, we will compare red squirrels vs. Gray squirrels features and know the difference between both of them.
What Does a Red Squirrel Look Like?
The red squirrel is a tiny attractive mammal with the chestnut-colored upper body, with a blonde to the cream underside, distinctive ear cluster, and a fluffy tail. These species’ color coats vary from black to red, where red is the most common color. Although, these squirrels shed their coats twice a year. They carry thinner layers in summer, and dark and thicker furs in winter—the Eurasian red squirrel who possess lighter, redder skins and is smaller in size.
What Does a Gray Squirrel Look Like?
The grey squirrel is mainly divided into two species the Eastern grey squirrel and the Western grey squirrel. The eastern grey squirrel is a tree squirrel of medium size. Both the male and female of these species are of equal size and same color. These squirrels have fur mainly in black or grey color. Where the grey color is being silvery and combined with grey and black hairs and their underside being white, their tail is busy and sometimes display reddish color.
On the other hand, the western grey squirrel has a long, bushy, and white-edged tail. Their tail helps them to balance them while jumping from tree to tree. They have considerably large limbs. These rodents are the most abundant tree squirrels.
Also read difference between bobcats and mountain lions.
Red Squirrel Habitat:
Red squirrels inherit in the coniferous woods in Siberia and northern Europe. In the southern and western Europe, they habitat in broad-leaved woods where they can get a better source of food. They prefer to live in temperate grasslands, mixed forests, tundra region, woodlands, and scrub lands.
Grey Squirrel Habitat:
The eastern grey squirrel species is native to the east and some parts of mid-western America. Their population ranges from Manitoba to New Brunswick, from Florida to Texas. They prefer to habitat in the flooded grasslands, tropical savannahs, temperate coniferous forests, and temperate grasslands.
The western grey squirrels extend across the pacific region of the west of the United States, Northern Mexico, and Washington state, and northern edges of California. These squirrels typically inherit in woodlands and coniferous forests.
Red Squirrel vs Gray Squirrel Size:
The red squirrel weight between 9 to 12 ounces and these rodents measures between 7.5 to 9 inches in length. While the eastern gray squirrel grows from 9 to 11 inches in length and weighs from 14 to 21 ounces. On the other hand, the western gray species measure from 17 to 23 inches and weighs between 14 to 35 ounces.
Red Squirrel Diet:
The diet of red squirrels mainly consists of seeds of various trees, nuts, especially hazelnut. But they also feed on chestnuts and beech. Berries and young shoots are also part of their diet, while sometimes they can even eat bird eggs or chicks.
Gray Squirrel Diet:
The eating behavior of both red vs grey squirrel does not differ much. The eastern grey squirrel mostly feeds on seeds, nuts, buds, and flowers of around 24 different types of oak trees. In the winter season, they mainly feed on corn, wheat, and other crops. During the summers they eat insects and sometimes they can also eat young squirrels.
The diet of western grey squirrels includes pinecone seeds as these rodents habitat in coniferous forests. These squirrels favor eating berries, fungus, bark, sap as well as various insects.
Gray vs Red Squirrel: (Behavior and Reproduction)
- Red squirrels are active during the daytime, and at this time they eat the most food.
- In spring and summer, they rest in their nests to escape from extreme heat.
- These rodents spend a majority of time in trees, and when they are on the ground, they search for food.
- Although red squirrels do not form groups, the males enter into female’s territory to compete for a chance to mate with them.
- The gestation period in female red squirrels is between 36 to 40 days after which they deliver 3 to 5 young squirrels.
- The males of eastern gray squirrels compete against each other to get a chance to breed with a female.
- However, females can mate with more than one male.
- The incubation period in these species is from 40 to 44 days, and the female gives birth to 2 to 3 litters.
- There is not much known about the mating behavior of western gray squirrel.
- During the mating season, the individuals are known to bite and injure each other.
- The females of these species perform high territorial behavior, get involved in fights, and do not allow others to enter their area.
- The gestation period lasts for 45 days, and 3 to 5 litters are born.
Are Red Squirrels Endangered?
According to the IUCN red list of endangered species, these species have classified as least concern. However, their worldwide population is unknown, but these squirrels have decreased drastically. The primary threat to these species is their habitat loss, pet trade, and over-hunting.
Are Gray Squirrels Endangered?
The IUCN has listed the eastern gray squirrel as least concern, although their population is not known their population is increasing nowadays. Like eastern gray squirrels, the western gray squirrels have classified as least concern.
American Red Squirrel vs Gray Squirrel:
If a fight took place between a red and a gray squirrel, the gray squirrel is more likely to win because of their size. The red squirrels are weaker than gray squirrels. Both the species of gray squirrel are more durable than a red squirrel. They can use the benefit of their size and strength to put down the red squirrel. In general, the animal with more strength and power is always likely to win.
Also read difference between squirrel and chipmunk.