Red Squirrels prefer to live in coniferous woodland, but sometimes they live in mixed woodland where there are lots of different types of trees. Red Squirrels like to have a variety of food to keep them in constant supply all year round. This is important because Red Squirrels do not hibernate.
A Red Squirrel may have a ‘home range’ of about seven hectares within a woodland (one hectare is the size of two football pitches). The home range is the area the Red Squirrel covers when it goes about its normal daily activities. In the centre of the home range the Red Squirrel often has an exclusive area for itself. This area is known as the ‘core area’ or the ‘territory’ and is usually one hectare in size. The boundaries of the core area are marked with scent to warn off intruders. Home ranges may overlap with home ranges of neighbouring Red Squirrels so it is not uncommon to see many individual Red Squirrels feeding together in one tree.
Red Squirrels are very vocal. They are known as ‘chatter boxes’ because they chatter with their teeth. They teeth chatter to warn invading Red Squirrels to go away, especially when the invaders are too close to stored food. Red Squirrels also shriek at intruders and even humans who encroach on their territories.
When young Red Squirrels (kittens) are alarmed, they roll themselves into protective balls and squeal very loudly to let their mother know they are not safe. This usually happens when an intruder is too near to the nest. The mother is very protective of her kittens and will lunge at an intruder and make loud ‘chuck-chuck-chuck' sounds to scare the intruder away.