Fun Red-Tailed Squirrel Facts For Kids

Sonali Rawat
May 09, 2023 By Sonali Rawat
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Fact-checked by Shray Sharma
Discover some amazing red-tailed squirrel facts about their habitat, diet, and lifestyle.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.3 Min

The red-tailed squirrel (Sciurus granatensis) is a species of tree squirrel commonly found in most parts of North and South America. These red squirrels mainly live in forests, parks, or gardens in Costa Rica, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago, the islands of Margarita, and Barro Colorado.

Their habitat can also extend to urban settings like parks or woods near settlements. These squirrels are mainly herbivores and they feed on nuts, fruits, seeds, and leaves.

They can also eat other plant-based food like mushrooms, flowers, and the bark of trees.

The red-tailed squirrel will feed on acorns, hickory nuts, mangoes, bananas, avocadoes, maize, and apples. Like all squirrels, they search for food on the ground and climb up trees to eat.

The body color of these American tree squirrels may change depending on their location but, they are usually dark orange, yellow with black spots, or all black. Males and females have a similar body size and length.

The mating season is January to October and females usually give birth to about one to two young ones. In some rare cases, they can also give birth to three squirrels.

They can have a litter of two to three every year. According to the IUCN Red List, the species is listed as Least Concern and their population is fairly stable.

Scroll down to read more amazing facts about red-tailed squirrels. If you liked it, you can also check out some interesting information on the black-tailed prairie dog and the jerboa.

Red-Tailed Squirrel Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a red-tailed squirrel?

The red-tailed squirrel (Sciurus granatensis) is a species of tree squirrel most commonly found in parts of South and North America, including Costa Rica and Ecuador.

What class of animal does a red-tailed squirrel belong to?

The red-tailed squirrel species belongs to the class of mammals from the Sciurus genus of the Sciuridae family. These tree squirrels are part of the Animalia kingdom, phylum of Chordata, and have the scientific name Sciurus granatensis.

How many red-tailed squirrels are there in the world?

There are no studies estimating the number of red squirrels in the world. As a Least Concern species, their population is stable and not in any danger.

Where does a red-tailed squirrel live?

The red-tailed tree squirrel lives in the forests of Central, North, and South America. They can be found in Colombia, northern Costa Rica, Panama, Venezuela, and Ecuador.

These red squirrels have also been spotted in the islands of Margarita, Trinidad and Tobago, and Barro Colorado. Ideal elevations for the red squirrel in most places are 9842 ft (3,000 m) and below 4921 ft (1500 m) in Venezuela.

What is a red-tailed squirrel's habitat?

The habitat of red-tailed squirrels includes many types of forests like tropical dry forest, tropical moist forest, coniferous forest, and urban parks or gardens. They can also be found close to water, croplands, and seasonal rainforests. It is a local animal and can use tree hollows or hollows in the ground as a home.

Who do red-tailed squirrels live with?

Red-tailed squirrels tend to stay alone, especially while looking for food. They are only seen together during the breeding season or while feeding their young ones.

How long does a red-tailed squirrel live?

The average lifespan of red squirrels can range from six to seven years in the wild and up to 11 years in captivity.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding season of the red squirrel species can range from late December or January to October. The nest is known as a drey and is made of various plant materials like leaves or twigs.

Males are known to chase females until both genders come into heat and mating occurs. The red squirrel is polygamous which means they can have more than one mating partner.

The gestation period takes no more than two months and the female will give birth to one to two young ones. They can have about two to three litters every year and kits stay in the nest for six weeks.

Females tend to hide the young squirrels under nest materials and twigs to prevent predators from finding them. Red-tailed squirrels can become independent in three months and reach reproductive or mating maturity in a year.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the red squirrel species is Least Concern, according to IUCN Red List. Their population shows a stable trend.

Red-Tailed Squirrel Fun Facts

What do red-tailed squirrels look like?

Red-tailed squirrels are medium-sized tree squirrel and the colors of their fur may change depending on the location. The dorsal body can be dark orange, dull yellow, or black and the bellies in the front may have a bright orange or white hue.

The tail is very furry and is a dull yellowish brown or red with a black tip. The winter coat of this squirrel can slightly change. Both males and females are the same length and weight.

A red-tailed squirrels on a branch.

How cute are they?

The small red-tailed squirrel is very cute and has adorable bead-like eyes. Their color pattern is also distinct and their body language always makes them look very polite.

How do they communicate?

Red-tailed squirrels are quiet animals and communicate only when necessary. They can make sounds like grunting, squealing, and often chase each other. This is usually done while mating or communicating with young ones.

How big is a red-tailed squirrel?

The average size of red-tailed squirrels can range from 12.9-20.4 in (330-520 mm) in length.

How fast can a red-tailed squirrel move?

There are no studies that estimate the speed of a red-tail squirrel. Red squirrels from the same genus can move at the speed of 14 mph (22.5 kph) on the ground and can cover short distances. Red-tailed squirrels should also move around this speed range.

How much does a red-tailed squirrel weigh?

The average weight of a red-tailed squirrel adult can range from 8-18.3 oz (228-520 g). They may become lean during winter times due to a scarcity of food.

What are the male and female names of the species?

Male red squirrels are called boars while female red squirrels are called sows.

What would you call a baby red-tailed squirrel?

Baby red-tailed squirrels are called pups, kits, or kittens.

What do they eat?

Red-tailed squirrels are herbivores and they can be seen feeding on fruits, nuts, and seeds. They also feed on tree bark, flowers, leaves, stems, grains, and mushrooms.

They enjoy eating acorns and hickory nuts. Fruits like mangoes, avocados, maize, and bananas are also part of their diet. Red-tailed squirrels usually search for food on the ground and climb up trees to enjoy eating in safety.

It may become difficult to find food during winter and they are known to preserve their energy. Their main predators are Capuchin monkeys, boa constrictors, raptors, other snakes, and cats.

Are they dangerous?

Red-tailed squirrels are harmless animals and not dangerous to human beings. They can be a pest in agricultural fields of mangoes, apples, avocados, and maize.

Would they make a good pet?

While this red squirrel is very cute, it is not a good idea to keep them as a pet. They are an exotic wild species that belongs to the trees in the wild. It can also be illegal in some states to own a pet squirrel.

Did you know...

Red-tailed squirrels can disperse the seeds of fruits they feed on and are known as seed dispersers. They can also disperse fungal spores as well.

How rare is a red-tailed squirrel?

The red-tailed squirrel is not rare and is very abundant in various parts of America including Ecuador, northern Costa Rica, and Colombia. Their population is also stable and not endangered.

How active are they?

The red-tailed squirrel is an active species but can be seen resting frequently. They are very silent and they do not spend a lot of time doing rigorous activities like jumping, running, or climbing. These squirrels only move or run when needed and can even avoid squirrels of the same species.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including water voles and dormouse.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable red-tailed squirrel coloring pages.

Red-Tailed Squirrel Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Fruits, nuts, and seeds

What Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?


How Much Did They Weigh?

8-18.3 oz (228-520 g)

What habitat Do they Live In?

tropical moist forests and coniferous forests

Where Do They Live?

north america and south america

How Long Were They?

12.9-20.4 in (330-520 mm)

How Tall Were They?








Scientific Name

Sciurus granatensis

What Do They Look Like?

Orange, red, brown, and black

Skin Type


What Are Their Main Threats?


What is their Conservation Status?

Least Concern

north america and south america

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Written by Sonali Rawat

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature, Masters of Art specializing in English and Communication Skills

Sonali Rawat picture

Sonali RawatBachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature, Masters of Art specializing in English and Communication Skills

Sonali has a Bachelor's degree in English literature from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University and is currently pursuing a Master's in English and Communication from Christ University. With considerable experience in writing about lifestyle topics, including travel and health, she has a passion for Japanese culture, especially fashion, and anime, and has written on the subject before. Sonali has event managed a creative-writing festival and coordinated a student magazine at her university. Her favorite authors are Toni Morrison and Anita Desai.

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Fact-checked by Shray Sharma

Bachelor of Technology specializing in Computer Science Engineering

Shray Sharma picture

Shray SharmaBachelor of Technology specializing in Computer Science Engineering

As an aspiring web and app developer, Shray has a passion for working with promising startups. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from Maharaja Surajmal Institute Of Technology while gaining experience in digital marketing. Shray has already earned a Google Analytics Certification and is well-equipped to handle analytics and data management tasks. He has also served as a marketing manager at Parallax Virtual Arts, where he oversaw the company's social media, content, and SEO strategies. Shray's goal is to create engaging content that resonates with audiences and offers valuable insights.

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