Earlier this month I spent a couple of nights camping in the Cataloochee Valley of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Upon my arrival I started setting up my tent and almost immediately received a very vocal protest from a resident American red squirrel (Rodentia: Sciuridae: Tamiasciurus hudsonicus). I have encountered these small but loud tree-dwelling rodents many times across the country, and they are always quick to issue their loud warning calls. Found throughout heavily forested areas across the United States and Canada, their barks are unmistakable.
Another concerned resident was this eastern gray squirrel (Rodentia: Sciuridae: Sciurus carolinensis). Although she never barked at me, she did circle my campsite a couple of times trying to figure out what I was all about. Before long both squirrels seemed content that I didn’t present a threat to them and they disappeared back into the trees.