Our Native Douglas Squirrel




 In case you didn’t know, the Douglas Squirrel (Tamiasciurus douglasii) is one of our B.C. native squirrels, living along the Pacific Coast. It has a reddish-brown or grayish-brown back, and a rusty orange underside. The
winter coat is grayer overall.  They weigh 140g-310g and are about 33cm (including the tail).  They live mainly in coniferous forests, building a nest in the tree.  In winter they nest in tree holes or underground. The bulk of their diet is the seeds of coniferous trees.  They are aggressive against the larger Eastern Grey Squirrels, (which can be gray or black).  Those squirrels were introduced to Stanley Park in 1909 and are now very common. A very distinct feature of the Douglas Squirrel is its loud “chatter”, which is almost bird-like and definitely reminiscent of “scolding”!

Here’s a story of one of my little “Douglas Squirrel” encounters!
Crack! Crack! Clunk!  Crack! Crack! Clunk!  What were those LOUD noises disturbing my heavenly summer morning?  I was determined to soak in all the peacefulness I could before starting the countdown to the rowdy, joyous noise of the schoolyard.  (Funnily enough, I recently bumped into a few of my students’ moms in the grocery store and they had quite the opposite opinion!)  Maybe though... that noise might be a Pileated Woodpecker, finally showing up close enough for a photo!  I raced inside, grabbed my camera, and... silence!  How typical! Oh well, I headed back in for coffee #2 and the super duper ball thrower for our dog.  Just as I started our routine of hurling the ball willy-nilly into the bushes and off the car roof... Crack! Crack! Clunk! Clunk! Clunk!  This time I could swear that I saw ROCKS coming down the side of the cliff!  What kind of a woodpecker throws rocks???  I tied up the dog, grabbed the camera once again, and hiked cautiously up the hill to see if I could catch a National Geographic photo.   As I rounded the corner, the “rocks” kept coming, seemingly from the tops of the tall trees.  One almost hit me... and it was... a Cedar cone!  Then a small shape scampered down the tree trunk and began the most severe “tongue lashing” I have ever heard!  With his tail flicking and his front paws jerking, a little Douglas Squirrel told me, in no uncertain terms, that I had better get about my BTS preparations because HE was already piling up his stores before autumn.  It was hard to stop laughing! Since that morning, I have to smile whenever I hear that clunking and see all those cones crashing down from the tops of our trees.  Now I know who the scallywag is!


Back to Nature's Classroom index

This page created March 2020.


site stats