Eastern Fox Squirrel

Sciurus niger
Family: Sciuridae
Alias: Bryant’s Fox Squirrel

I see these squirrels frequently around the property in all seasons, scurrying about on the ground, in the trees or across our roof. I find them gathering acorns and pecans from the ground and sunflower seeds from the bird feeders.


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Sitting on a small pile of firewood on our porch, pondering a move to one of the bird feeders on the railing

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Scurrying down a tree at one point while my dogs were chasing it around the property

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Carrying a pecan in its mouth up a large Oak tree

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A camera-shy fox squirrel trying to hide behind a too-skinny Crape Myrtle tree branch beside the house

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Taking a flying leap of faith

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Sitting on an old fence post near a large Oak tree

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Two friends romping in a tree along the driveway

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Can I borrow a cup of nuts?

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Taking over the bird feeder next to the house, eating black oil sunflower seeds


Range

The eastern United States except for upper New England, and a little ways into Mexico

Habitat

Deciduous and mixed forests. In the south it can also be found in cypress and mangrove swamps. They thrive best among oak, hickory, walnut and pines, storing their nuts for winter. They have two types of shelters—leaf nests and tree dens.

Food

Acorns, hickory, walnut, beech, mulberry and hawthorne seeds. It also eats tubers, bulbs, roots, bird eggs, green shoots and buds, fruits, berries, corn, oats, wheat, insects, moths and beetles. Nuts are stored for use in the winter. The fox squirrel locates its stashes using its keen sense of smell

Other

~ The fox squirrel is a solitary animal, although it will share a feeding area with other squirrels
~ Is the largest species of tree squirrel native to North America, spending more of its time on the ground than other tree squirrels
~ It spends most of the day eating and gathering and storing food.
~ has flexible ankle joints which allow it to rotate its feet by 180 degrees as it descends tree trunks head-first.
~ Fox squirrels have been known to live to 18 years old in captivity. Under natural conditions the average lifespan is 8 to 18 years old, though most squirrels die before they reach adulthood.


Information Resources


 

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