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Critter of the Month


Critter of the Month -

SEPTEMBER

EASTERN FOX SQUIRREL
SCIURUS NIGER

The fox squirrel, also known as the eastern fox squirrel or Bryant's fox squirrel is the largest species of tree squirrel in North America. They range in weight from 1 lbs to 2.5 lbs. Both males and females are the same in appearance and size. Individuals tend to be smaller in the west. There are 3 distinct geographical phases in coloration.

To help climbing, squirrels have sharp claws, developed extensors of their digits and flexors of forearms and strong adominal muscles. Fox squirrels have excellent vision and a well-developed sense of smell and hearing. They use scent markings to communicate wiht others of their speciea. They have several sets of whiskers that they use as 'touch' receptors to sense the environment.

Fox squirrels are most abundant in open forests with little understory. You will not find them in stands of dense large trees. Spacing of the trees is an important feature of Fox Squirrels habitat.

Fox Squirrels have two types of shelters. A leaf nest called a 'drey' and tree dens and they may have multiple of each.

Fox Squirrels are tolerant of human proximity and even thrive in crowded urban and surburban environments.

In general their diet depends on location but generally their food includes tree buds, insects, tubers, bird eggs, pine seeds, fungi and tree mast.

Fox Squirrels produce two litters per year and develop more slowly compared to other rodents and squirrels.



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