Squirrel - Wildlife


Appearance

Fox squirrels (Sciurus niger vulpinus) are 18 to 25 inches long (nose to tail) and weigh 1 to 3 lbs. Body color is gray with slight color variation and light underbelly, and large bushy grayish-white tail. Fox squirrels are larger than gray squirrels.

Gray squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis pennsylvanicus) are 12 to 21 inches long (nose to tail) and weigh 1 to 1.5 lbs. Body color ranges from grayish to yellow-brown with light underbelly, chin and hind legs, and bushy white-edged tail.

Behavior

Squirrels have 1 to 2 litters a year and 2 to 4 young per litter. Squirrels are diurnal with peak activity at dawn and late afternoon.

Squirrels do not hibernate but will become inactive during extreme winter weather using leaf nests and tree cavities for protection. Squirrels dig shallow holes to store nuts (up to 1000 a year) and other foods for winter food. Squirrels will establish themselves in new trees when the local food supply is exhausted.

Diet

Squirrels are primarily herbivores. A modified diet can include nuts, seeds, fruits, plants, insects, eggs and baby birds.

 

Habitat

Squirrels inhabit dense forest, open woodlands and grasslands, rural, suburban and urban areas of Fairfax County.

  


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