Tree squirrels are part of the Sciuridae family. Tree squirrels have adapted well to cohabiting alongside humans in urban areas. They consume a large variety of foods from nuts to insects. Two species, the red squirrel and the grey squirrel, can conflict with each other in search for food.
Red Tree Squirrels
Red and grey tree squirrels primarily feed on seeds and fruit all year. Both are opportunistic feeders, however, that will adapt to the changing seasonal foods that are available. Red squirrels eat nuts like the hazelnut and beechnut and seeds like spruce and pine. They also eat acorns, fungus, insects, and even soil and tree bark when food is scare. The bark and soil provide minerals and roughage for the squirrel. Red squirrels bury their food in the winter like grey squirrels, but often forget where they buried it.
Grey Tree Squirrels
Grey squirrels feed on berries, acorns, flowers and tree buds in the spring. They consume beech mast, nuts, roots, sap tissue and even small insects occasionally. They rarely will eat small bird eggs and baby chicks. Grey squirrels, like red squirrels, will bury their surplus food in the ground to retrieve it later in the winter when food is scarce. Unlike red squirrels, grey squirrels are adept at remembering where they buried food. They use spatial memory and landmarks to find the general spot, and use scent to pinpoint it. When sharing an environment with red squirrels, greys will often steal food buried by the red squirrels.
Brian McCracken lives in Portland, Ore., where he writes on pets and animal wildlife as well as a wide array of other topics, ranging from real estate to personal development.