E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Wildlife of British Columbia

Tamiasciurus hudsonicus (Erxleben, 1777)
Chickaree; Pine Squirrel; Red Squirrel
Family: Sciuridae
Photo of species

© Brian Klinkenberg  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #7128)

E-Fauna BC Static Map
Distribution of Tamiasciurus hudsonicus in British Columbia
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The Red Squirrel is a small boreal species of squirrel that is found across North America in coniferous and mixed forests from sea level to elevations of 2330 m (Nagorsen 2005); it also occurs in urban and suburban areas. It is found across British Columbia, including Vancouver Island, but is absent from the southwestern coast region south of Rivers Inlet, west of the Cascade and Coast Mountains-while it is present on Vancouver Island, it is absent from the adjacent small islands (Nagorsen 2005) . In the southwestern coast region, it is replaced by the Douglas Squirrel (Nagorsen 2005). It was introduced to the Queen Charlotte Islands (Haida Gwaii) in 1950 and is now established on 11 islands (Nagorsen 2005).


In British Columbia, the Red Squirrel is identified by its small size, grey to olive-brown dorsal coat, white belly (sometimes pale yellow or greyish), bushy tail (tail hairs tipped with red), tufted ears and distinctive white eye-ring (Nagorsen 2005). It is similar in appearance to the Douglas squirrel, but the Douglas Squirrel has a rust-coloured belly (Nagorsen 2005). In some parts of the Cascades it is difficult to separate the Douglas Squirrel from the Red Squirrel, and the two species may hybridize (Nagorsen 2005). In areas where it co-occurs with the introduced Eastern Grey Squirrel, the two can be separated based on size--the Eastern Grey Squirrel is larger.

Melanistic Red Squirrels have been observed in Nova Scotia (Huynh 2011).


Twenty-five subspecies of Red Squirrel are recognized, with seven reported for BC (Nagorsen 2005).

1) Tamiasciurus hudsonicus columbiensis (northern and central BC)
2) Tamiasciurus hudsonicus lanuginosus (coastal mainland, Rivers Inlet north to the Skeen River, and some islands)
3) Tamiasciurus hudsonicus petularis (extreme northwestern BC)
4) Tamiasciurus hudsonicus picatus (coastal mainland, northwestern BC)
5) Tamiasciurus hudsonicus richardsoni (southeastern BC)
6) Tamiasciurus hudsonicus streatori (south-central BC)
7) Tamiasciurus hudsonicus (Peace River-Fort Nelson region)

Read an account about Red Squirrels in Ontario.

Status Information

Origin StatusProvincial StatusBC List
(Red Blue List)
NativeS5YellowNot Listed
BC Ministry of Environment: BC Species and Ecosystems Explorer--the authoritative source for conservation information in British Columbia.

Additional Photo Sources

Species References

Hanrahan, Christine. 2007. Red squirrels. Fletcher Wildlife Garden. Available online.

Nagorsen, David W. 2005. Rodents and Lagomorphs of British Columbia. Royal BC Museum Handbook. Royal BC Museum, Victoria.

General References

Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2021. E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Fauna of British Columbia [efauna.bc.ca]. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed: 2024-07-13 6:32:32 AM]
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