Do red squirrels hibernate?

Tree squirrels can’t gain enough weight to get them through hibernation, but squirrel away secret food stashes to survive winter

Almost all of a red squirrel’s daily routine is centred around searching for food. They are most active in the morning and afternoon, resting in the shelter of the trees to avoid the midday sun. They aren’t capable of putting on enough weight to survive a long winter sleep, but more than double their food intake in spring compared with winter.

Bulking up for the cold months is extremely important for a squirrel’s survival, so they collect as much food as possible. What they can’t eat immediately, they hide to save for another time. This is called caching, and hundreds of trees are planted every year from forgotten caches of seeds left by squirrels.

Another vital survival tactic is escaping predators. Although they are solitary, red squirrels warn others around them when danger is near and even have a silent alarm system. By changing its body posture and flicking its tail, a squirrel warns others around it that it has spotted a threat without drawing attention to itself.


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Image from flickr.com/photos/peter-trimming