The Red Squirrel
Files are in PDF format. You can download Acrobat here
Autumn Main Page
Animals Main Page
Grey Squirrel
For Parents/Educators you are very welcome to download any or all of our Grade K-5 Thematic
Units and/or Lesson Plans for use in your homes, homeschool, classroom or community
centres.  These pages feature activities, teaching resources, poetry, songs and rhymes as well
as fun educational printables for various age groups...

National Squirrel Appreciation Day is held on January 21

In the joy of his nature he frisks with a bound
To the topmost twigs, and then to the ground;
Then up again, like a winged thing,
And from tree to tree with a vaulting spring;
Then he sits up aloft, and looks waggish and queer,
As if he would say, “Ay, follow me here?”
And then he grows pettish, and stamps his foot;
And then independently cracks his nut.   
                                            ~MARY HOWITE


The red squirrel is more common and less dignified than the grey, and often guilty of petty theft
about the barns and grain-fields. You’ll find them quite often in mixed oak, chestnut, and
hemlock woods, from which he makes trips to the fields and orchards, spinning along the
tops of the fences, which afford not only convenient lines of communication, but a safe retreat if
danger threatens. He loves to linger about the orchard; and, sitting upright on the topmost
stone in the wall, or on the tallest stake in the fence, chipping up an apple for the seeds, his
tail conforming to the curve of his back, his paws shifting and turning the apple, he is a pretty
sight, and his bright, pert appearance atones for all the mischief he does. At home, in the
woods, he is very frolicsome and loquacious. The appearance of anything that he decides is
not a danger or threat, excites the squirrel into playfulness and ridicule, and he snickers and
chatters, hardly able to contain himself; now darting up the trunk of a tree and squealing, then
hopping into position on a limb and dancing to the music of his own cackle, and all for your
special benefit.

There is something very human in this playfulness and mockery of the squirrels. It seems to
be a sort of laughter, and implies self-conscious pride and excitement in the laughter. "What a
ridiculous thing you are, to be sure!" he seems to say; "how clumsy and awkward, and what a
poor show for a tail! Look at me, look at me!"--and he capers about in his best style. Again, he
would seem to tease you and provoke your attention; then suddenly assumes a tone of good-
natured, childlike defiance and derision. That pretty little imp, the chipmunk, will sit on the
stone above his den and defy you, as plainly as if he said so, to catch him before he can get
into his hole if you can.

The red squirrel lays up no stores like the provident chipmunk, but scours about for food in all
weathers, feeding upon the seeds in the cones of the hemlock that still cling to the tree, upon
sumac-bobs, and the seeds of frozen apples. The object of the squirrels seemed to be to get
at the soft, white, mucilaginous substance (cambium layer) between the bark and the wood.
The ground was covered with fragments of the bark, and the white, naked stems and
branches had been scraped by fine teeth. When the sap starts in the early spring, the squirrels
add this to their scanty supplies. They perforate the bark of the branches of the maples with
their chisel-like teeth, and suck the sweet liquid as it slowly oozes out. It is not much as food,
but evidently it helps.

The red squirrel does not lay by a store of food for winter use, like the chipmunk and the wood-
mice; yet in the fall he sometimes hoards in a tentative, temporary kind of way.

Examine any number of nuts that the squirrels have rifled, and, as a rule, you will find they
always drill through the shell at the one spot where the meat will be most exposed.
Occasionally one makes a mistake, but not often.

The cheeks of the red and grey squirrels are made without pockets, and whatever they
transport is carried in the teeth. They are more or less active all winter, but in the Northern
Hemisphere October and November are their festal months.

In studying an animal, its manner of life in its native haunts should be the first thing observed.
Ask questions to guide children in their outdoor study.
•        When and where did you see the squirrel? Describe his movements.
•        How does he run up a tree?
•        How does he come down?   
•        What does he eat?
•        How does he carry his food?
•        Where does he live? Describe his nest.
•        When running, in what position does he carry his tail?
•        Do you know the sound a squirrel makes? Can you make the same sound?

If you are not situated in a position where it is possible to study the squirrels in their own
natural environment procure one alive in a revolving cage for study in the school-room, or
alternatively watch a video documentary on squirrels in their natural habitat.

Children should watch the squirrels and find out his way of eating, drinking, and bathing.
Notice his teeth. In the front of his mouth he has four long, chisel shaped teeth, two in the
upper jaw and two in the lower. For grinding he has strong, broad back teeth.

  • How does he hold the nut?
  • How does he eat it?
  • He seems to like fruit, grain, buds, and cones as well as nuts. Observe the squirrel
    when asleep.

Ask children to:
Compare the red squirrel to a chipmunk
Compare the red squirrel to the
grey squirrel.

The squirrel’s teeth continue to grow as long as he lives and he must keep them worn
down by gnawing.

Squirrel Printables and Activities

  • This PDF lesson plan is designed to be used with the film, Nutkin's Last Stand, which
    shows the systematic effort by groups in Great Britain to exterminate North American
    grey squirrels, which were brought to Great Britain from the United States and are
    believed by many to be spreading a virus that threatens the native red squirrel
  • Squirrel Interactive Jigsaw Puzzles

730 crafts, activities and
recipes for the whole
Family.... click the
thumbnail for more...
This delightful Life Skills reading
Comprehension & Unit Study
can be previewed.  Please
click on thumbnail.
Click on thumbnail to preview this
162 page Activity book which
includes lesson plans, crafts,
vocabulary exercises, puzzles,
quizzes, teacher/parent resources,
flashcards and more.
AddThis Social Bookmark Button
Please familiarise yourself with our Terms of Use and Disclaimer prior to downloading resources.  Contents of this website (c) Donnette E Davis and/or St Aiden's
Homeschool unless otherwise stipulated.
Join us on Twitter for Homeschool Updates, freebies, Specials and promotions