Other Mammals - Sounds Wild
Squirrel Midden


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Squirrel Midden

On a weekend camping trip, my daughters find a squirrel midden at the base of a big spruce tree. The owner of the midden announces his displeasure at our presence. The midden is a large, fluffy mound of shucked spruce cone scales, many feet deep, left over after the squirrel ate the tiny seeds inside thousands of spruce cones. The pile is interlaced with tunnels, and the squirrel has hundreds of cut cones stashed in the midden, his store of food for the upcoming winter. Squirrels don't hibernate and are active all winter

Alaska's red squirrels are found across the forested areas of the state. They're fiercely territorial, defending a territory about one-acre in size, and will drive off any interloping squirrels, and even birds like Steller jays. They are also curious and opportunistic, and will raid a neighbor's cache if they can.

An acquaintance in Fairbanks snared squirrels at a midden near a house because the homeowner had problems with squirrels getting into his roof and tearing up the insulation. They ended up with 48 squirrels. There were not 48 squirrels initially in that one territory or using that midden, but when one squirrel disappears from its territory, other squirrels from the surrounding area infiltrate in.