10 Different Types of Squirrels in Canada

Different Types of Squirrels in Canada
Photo by viswaprem anbarasapandian on Unsplash

Squirrels are among the fascinating creatures that inhabit Canada’s forests and parks. These small to medium-sized rodents are skilled at scurrying through trees and scavenging for food.

In this article, we shall discuss the different types of squirrels in Canada. Canada is home to various squirrel species, each with unique traits and distribution patterns.

This country provides a home for these attractive and industrious creatures, attracting both inhabitants and visitors with their agile movements and lovable presence.

Now let’s look at some of these wonderful creatures.

1. Eastern Gray Squirrel

Eastern Gray Squirrel
by Fyn Kynd is licensed under CC BY 2.0

One of the biggest tree squirrels in Canada is the eastern gray squirrel. These squirrels have long tails, which let them perform acrobatic maneuvers on trees.

The bodies of these rodents are greyish, with patches of brown, white, or black hair and a whitish belly.

Their tails have silver-tipped hairs and are grey, flat, and bushy. Eastern gray squirrels do not hibernate.

In the winter, their bodies can produce a layer of fat that acts as insulation. Furthermore, these squirrels are more active during the day than at night.

Eastern gray squirrels consume various kinds of foods, such as nuts, seeds, insects, fungi, and even small bird eggs.

2. Fox Squirrel

Fox Squirrel
by Judy Gallagher is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The fox squirrel is among the largest types of squirrels in Canada. Their belly is creamy, and they have beautiful reddish brown to grey fur.

Also, their hair often has a reddish base with a brown tip, giving them a frosted appearance. They have white feet and long, fox-like tails that are cinnamon.

Fox squirrels can scurry across the ground and through the branches of trees, which is one of their main characteristics. They can avoid predators and snag small meals due to this ability.  

Furthermore, fox squirrels are active all year round since they don’t hibernate. These nocturnal scatter hoarders typically store nuts to be eaten later in anticipation of the chilly winter months.

Fox squirrels consume insects, fungi, fruits, seeds, buds, nuts, and seeds.

3. American Red Squirrel

American Red Squirrel
by cricketsblog is licensed under CC BY 2.0

This is also among the different types of squirrels in Canada. They have white underbellies and fur that ranges from reddish to reddish grey.

These rodents also have big, bushy tails, slightly crested ears, and enormous paws.

The main food sources for American red squirrels are nuts, seeds, and insects. They also enjoy berries, acorns, mice, bird eggs, and mushrooms.

On occasion, they may even consume smaller birds. When approached by intruders and predators, American red squirrels can be pretty noisy.

To warn off intruders, they frequently bark, make alarm cries, and produce other noises like buzzes.

4. Douglas Squirrel

Douglas Squirrel
by aafromaa is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Douglas squirrels are a lively and energetic species resembling American red squirrels. These brilliantly colored rodents are among the different types of squirrels in Canada.

Douglas squirrels have rust-colored or tawny-orange bellies and a reddish-brown or greyish covering on their backs.

These squirrels can also change their appearance throughout the year. During the winter, their coat turns brownish and grey, with a tufted appearance.

However, their backs turn almost greenish-brown during the summer, while their bellies and chest turn pale orange. In addition, these squirrels are diurnal and do not hibernate.

Douglas squirrels are larder hoarders, which means that rather than dispersing their food caches, they gather large numbers of cones and seeds and bury them on their preferred dining perch.

These rodents feed on flowers, seeds, nuts, fungi, mushrooms, fruits, leaf buds, insects, and bird eggs.

5. Northern Flying Squirrel

Northern Flying Squirrel
by [ Leah ] is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

This is the most common squirrel among the different types of squirrels in Canada.

The thick, reddish-brown, or greyish coat of the northern flying squirrel acts as warmth for it in colder climates. Also, their underbelly has fur with white tips.

Their wide, round, black eyes often let them see better at night. They are fun-loving and lively, making them simple to get along with.

They aren’t the ideal pet for the typical human, though, as they are mostly active at night.

Northern flying squirrels consume acorns, nuts, fungus, buds, saps, seeds, and lichens. They occasionally boost their dietary requirements by eating insects and small bird eggs.

Northern flying squirrels are less territorial and more gregarious. If you’re lucky, you’ll find them nesting together to keep warm over the winter.

6. Southern Flying Squirrel

Southern Flying Squirrel
by cseeman is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The southern flying squirrel is also among the types of squirrels in Canada. These squirrels have creamy-white bellies and tender reddish brown or grey fur.

They have prominent ears and whiskers, large eyeballs with rings around them, and large eyes.

In addition, they have a fold of loose skin from their ankles to their wrists that help them fly.

Southern flying squirrels are very social creatures that can be seen gliding, foraging, and resting in groups. These omnivorous rodents primarily consume seeds, nuts, fruits, fungi, and insects.

7. Thirteen Lined Ground Squirrel

The “thirteen liner” is a small and slender ground squirrel with 13 stripes running along its body.

The dark brown stripes are wider than the tan ones and contain rectangular tan spots in the center.

Being a diurnal species, thirteen-lined ground squirrels are most active during the middle of the day and on warm, sunny days.

These creatures create both deeper, complex underground tunnels for nesting and hibernating, as well as shallow, blind-end burrows for use in emergencies.

Although they are not colonial, they may focus on one place with a good substrate. These squirrels are aggressively territorial and guard their underground homes.

The thirteen-liners are omnivores who primarily eat grass, seeds, and leaves. They also eat carrion, lizards, small birds, and insects.

8. Columbian Ground Squirrel

Columbian Ground Squirrel
by quinet is licensed under CC BY 2.0

This is also among the types of squirrels in Canada. They are relatively strong and built well. The fur on the bridge of the nose is bronze.

Also, the fur on the back, legs, and feet is a cinnamon buff color, with darker fur closer to the torso.

These squirrels reside in alpine and subalpine regions, near the edges of meadows, or on mounds where meadow floods occur.

Their preferred habitats are meadows and grasslands; thus, they are not as frequently observed in rocky, fellfield, heather, or herb field areas.

Furthermore, these creatures are active throughout the day and spend the night in their burrows. They use long-lasting underground burrows for their habitation.

These squirrels construct a grass nest within the burrow where they hibernate. They stay away from cloudy days, chilly breezes, and bad weather.

The warmest times of the day are when they are most active. These animals will touch noses and jaws together to greet one another.

This behavior can last one to five seconds and is similar to kissing. They eat roots, fruits, bulbs, stems, leaves, flowers, and seeds.

9. Arctic Ground Squirrel

Arctic Ground Squirrel
by DenaliNPS is licensed under CC BY 2.0

This is among the different types of squirrels in Canada. Their fur is brown with white spots, with the exception of the underbelly, which is normally off-white.

They molt twice a year, and their coat is normally more soft and delicate in the spring, turning gray-brown and stiff and thick as winter approaches.

Arctic ground squirrels are diurnal and live in groups of five to fifty individuals, including a dominant male, several females, and young.

To protect themselves from predators, they have a sophisticated network of burrows with entrances hidden beneath rocks, trees, or logs.

Arctic ground squirrels are omnivores that mostly consume insects, bird’s eggs, and occasionally each other’s young during the spring.

As winter approaches, they also consume berries, mushrooms, seeds, mosses, and lichens. They hunt for dried grass and nuts to stockpile for the winter as well.

10. Richardson’s Ground Squirrel

Richardson's Ground Squirrel
by Judy Gallagher is licensed under CC BY 2.0

These squirrels were named after Sir John Richardson, a Scottish naturalist.

They’re also among the different types of squirrels in Canada. They have a dark brown front side and a tan underside.

Compared to other ground squirrels, they have a tail that is shorter and less bushy, and their external ears are so little that they more closely resemble openings in the animal’s skull.

The Richardson ground squirrels are sociable and cohabit in groups. Their social system is built around female kinship.

Although they will tolerate the presence of females who are directly connected to them, females are aggressive toward strangers.

They consume grasses, seeds, nuts, grains, and insects as food. In addition, they might eat the remains of other ground squirrels.


Canada has a wide variety of squirrel species, which enhances the beauty and biodiversity of the country’s landscape.

The different types of squirrels in Canada are captivating because of their agility and tenacity, and they serve as a constant reminder of the intricate beauty of nature that exists throughout Canada’s vast territories.

Their presence is a lovely reminder of the diverse wildlife that coexists with human communities in this remarkable country.

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