Fortunately for our native squirrels, gray squirrels have not adapted well to wild environments and thrive only in urban settings. However, their large size and urban habit have driven most of our red squirrels from Calgary. Both speices eat a variety of native foods, but can adapt quickly to unusual food sources. Naturally, the are especially fond of NUTS! Nuts and other foods are often cached for later use. In late winter and early spring they will eat tree buds. In summer they eat fruits, berries, and succulent plant materials. Mushrooms, corn, and cultivated fruits are taken when available. During population peaks, when food is scarce, these squirrels may chew bark from a variety of trees. They will also eat insects and other animal matter.
Red squirrels are often heavily dependent on coniferous forests for cones and buds, hence their tremendous success in boreal and evergreen forests.