Red Squirrel vs Gray Squirrel: How to Tell the Differences

What is the difference between a red squirrel and a gray squirrel?

It may be difficult to differentiate the types of squirrels. There are various species of squirrels. The ones that are difficult to distinguish are the red and gray squirrels. They have different characteristics and behavior.

The main difference between the red and gray squirrel is that the red squirrel is red in color while the gray squirrel is gray in color.

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Red Squirrel vs Gray Squirrel

Comparison Table (Red Squirrel Vs Gray Squirrel)

Characteristics Red squirrel Gray squirrel
Color They are red in color. They are gray in color.
Size They are smaller in body size. They are comparatively large in body size.
Behavior They are more aggressive. They are seen to be docile and shy.
Intelligence They are less intelligent. They are more intelligent.
Ear tufts They have ear tufts. They do not have ear tufts.
Tails They have tail colors that vary from dark to almost white color. Their tails are made up of bands of colors having a white tip.
Habitats They are found in coniferous forests with pine, hemlock spruce, or fir trees. They are found in mature hardwood forests.
What they feed on They mostly feed on seed cones of hemlock, pine, spruce, and fir trees. They feed on a variety of seasonal food but nuts make a huge amount of its diet.
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What is a Red squirrel?

It is one of the species that live in softwood forests. They are small in size and have a red coat on their bodies. They are widely distributed across the North American continent.

They are entirely granivores. They mainly feed on white spruce seeds. The males compete with one another to mate with the females. The females can mate with 4 to 16 males. The gestation period ranges from 31 to 35 days. The size of the litter ranges from 1 to 5. The offspring are pink and hairless at birth.

Nests are constructed using grass on the branch of trees. They rarely nest below the ground. They are solitary animals. They rarely occupy buildings. They are active during the day but maybe inactive when the weather is cold. They are very noisy with alarming calls, barking, chattering, or clicking sounds. They prefer to stay up the trees, when they are on the ground, they are very nervous.

What is a Gray squirrel?

They are native to Mideastern and Eastern United States. They have gray fur. The underside is white in color. Their tail is large and bushy and normally its bands of color having a white tip. The adult gray squirrel weighs between 400 to 600 grams. They do not display sexual dimorphism that is there is no gender difference in size and coloration.

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They hoard food in very many locations and they have sharp memory in that they will be able to remember the location of food. They sometimes use the sense of smell to recover their food from the ground although it can be difficult to use the sense of smell when the ground is very dry.

They breed twice a year. The breeding depends on the availability of forage. The female may fail to conceive when the weather is very cold. The females may mate with multiple males. They bear 1 to 4 offspring in a litter. The gestation period is 44 days and the young ones are weaned at 10 weeks.

They communicate through vocalization and posturing. They squeak when communicating with one another. They also flick their tails. They feed on a range of food such as tree barks, buds, flowers, berries, and nuts.

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Main Differences between Red and Gray squirrels

  1. Red squirrels are small in body size while gray squirrels are comparatively larger.
  2. Red squirrels have red coats while gray squirrels have a gray coat.
  3. Red squirrels live in softwood forests while gray squirrels live in hardwood forests.
  4. Red squirrels more aggressive while gray squirrels are docile and shy.
  5. Red squirrels have ear tufts while gray squirrels do not have ear tufts.
  6. Red squirrels have tails that vary in color from white to dark colors while gray squirrels have tails that have different bands of colors having a white tip.
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Similarities between Red and Gray squirrels.

  1. They are both rodents.
  2. They both live in forests.
  3. They are both solitary animals.
  4. They both reproduce in the same way.
  5. They are both crepuscular animals.

In Conclusion

Red and gray squirrels are both rodents found in various parts of the world. They exhibit different characteristics and behavior hence they are totally different from one another. Red squirrels are smaller in body size while gray squirrels are bigger in body size. Red squirrels have ear tufts while gray squirrels do not have ear tufts. The main feature that makes red squirrels be different from gray squirrels is the color of their coats.

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