Fundy National Park

Squirrels are an integral part of the forest ecosystem in Fundy National Park.

The red squirrel is a very common sight along Fundy’s trails - they are everywhere. Whether by their eating habits – helping to spread seeds of tree species – or by their territorial nature – loud vocalisations of squirrels in the forest and interactions between squirrels and bird species are a very common occurrence in Fundy – it is remarkable how such a small creature can be such a big part of the forest ecosystem.

The flying squirrel also occurs in Fundy; but perhaps because it is nocturnal and much more secretive than the red squirrel, it is not seen often. If you see a flying squirrel in the wild, you will be one of the lucky few. Even if they are not seen very often, the part that they play in ecosystem functions are incredible, illustrating once again that a species doesn’t have to be a large animal like a moose to have an important place in the natural connections of the forest ecosystem.

The nocturnal northern flying squirrel is almost as common as the diurnal red squirrel in Fundy's forests and has been studied here in the past. Recent research demonstrates an important association between this animal's diet and the trees. It dines on a particular kind of fungus that fruits underground. These fungi grow close to the roots of trees, and other plants, and help them to extract nutrients from poor soils. The squirrel helps spread the fungi via its droppings, contributing to the development of a healthy forest. So mammals and mushrooms are connected, and that is only one of the infinite connections between all living and non-living things that are part of Fundy’s ecosystems.

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