|Stripes, the chipmunk|
The beta red squirrel is a male, but I couldn't tell about the other one yet. The alpha seems redder, and a bit more run-down, like it's tired from all the time it spends defending the walnut from intruders. This morning I watched two gray squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis) stalk up to the tree, climb it and stealthily drop a couple of walnuts to the ground. As soon as the walnuts thudded loudly down, the red squirrel jumped to action and furiously chased the grays away. The grays sprinted down, hurriedly grabbed the two walnuts and then gleefully ran off together to cache them safely away. I was surprised to see them work together. I call the alpha the alpha because it's the one that is king of the hill, or rather king of the walnut.
|Beta red squirrel approaching the alpha's territory|
|A few seconds later the alpha came over to bark at the beta|
Ecological notes: All of these little critters are technically (or taxonomically) squirrels. That is, they all belong to the family Sciuridae. Squirrels are rodents (Order Rodentia), so they have an upper and lower pair of incisors that are chisel shaped and reinforced with iron, which gives them that yellowish orange tint.
Where: Still my backyard