Types Of North American Squirrels – Some Of These You Might Be Seeing Regularly

Squirrels are some of the most commonly seen animals in North America, so much so that they barely elicit a blink or a smile out of us anymore. Yet, despite their ubiquity and familiarity, this species still has so much variety. 

They range from tiny chipmunk size to fox-like creatures, come in multiple colors, and have widely different behaviors across their habitats – from city parks to mountain forests. Today, we’ll talk about different squirrels native to North America and some interesting facts about each. If you’re interested in these gnawers, read on to know more!

Eastern Gray Squirrel

The Eastern Gray Squirrel, also known as just the Grey Squirrel, is one of North America’s most common and recognizable squirrels. They are native to the eastern and midwestern United States and southeastern Canada. The Eastern Gray Squirrel is most easily identified by its reddish-brown fur on its back and sides, with a white belly, feet, ears, and tail. Their tails are particularly distinctive; they are long, bushy, and often have white tips.

This gnawer lives in hardwood forests with plenty of food sources like acorns and hickory nuts. They’ve been known to construct nests made from leaves or twigs high up in trees, but they can also be found living in burrows underground or in the cavities of trees. During the winter, these squirrels typically store their food for later consumption; however, some will remain active year-round if conditions permit it.

In terms of behavior, Eastern Gray Squirrels can be quite vocal; they use a variety of squeaks and barks to communicate with each other. Besides being active during the day (diurnal), these squirrels can often be seen foraging for food at dusk or dawn (crepuscular). They are also incredibly agile creatures that can run up to 20 miles per hour and are capable of jumping up to ten feet.

Red Squirrel

Red Squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) are small tree-dwelling squirrels native to North America. They are most easily identified by their reddish-brown fur, black ear tufts, and white fur on the sides of their face. They typically measure between 9 and 12 inches in length and weigh about 5 ounces.

Red Squirrels are omnivores feeding on plants, nuts, and seeds. They also eat eggs, insects, mushrooms, and even small animals. Red Squirrels live in coniferous forests and have been found at elevations up to 11,000 feet. Their nests can be found high up among the branches of trees or within natural tree cavities. 

Although they generally don’t interact with humans directly, red squirrel populations are threatened by human activity, such as deforestation and habitat loss due to development or urbanization. Because of these threats, Red Squirrel populations are declining across North America, making it necessary for conservation efforts to ensure these unique creatures remain a part of our ecosystem.

Douglas Squirrel

The Douglas squirrel, scientifically known as Tamiasciurus douglasii, is a tree squirrel native to western North America. It is easily identifiable by its small size and reddish-brown fur. The underside of its body is white or grayish, while the top is usually a mix of brown and gray.

Douglas squirrels live solitary lives but occasionally gather in larger groups at communal feeding sites during mating season or when food is abundant. However, these gatherings only last for a while because they are fiercely territorial animals who will actively defend their homes from intruders. 

The Douglas squirrel is relatively small compared to other species of tree squirrels and has several natural predators, including hawks, owls, snakes, foxes, and coyotes. To evade them, they rely on their strong sense of smell combined with their speed and agility – they have been recorded running up to 15 miles per hour.  

Fox Squirrel

To the untrained eye, the fox squirrel may appear to be any other North American squirrel. But this species is quite distinct and has many interesting characteristics that make it stand out from its peers.

These animals are larger than most other North American squirrels, and they can grow up to three feet in length (including their tail). They also have distinctive fur coloration, with reddish or grayish fur on their back and a white underbelly.

The Fox Squirrel prefers open woodlands with plenty of trees to climb and forage. They feed on walnuts, hickory nuts, acorns, and beechnuts. In addition to these foods, they also eat fruits and fungi when available.

These squirrels are also solitary creatures but not completely reclusive. During mating season, they will come together in small groups for brief periods before going their separate ways again. 

Flying Squirrel

Flying Squirrels are identified by their large eyes and soft fur. These small mammals have flat tails and grayish-brown fur with white underbellies, but they don’t actually fly. Instead, they glide through the air using flaps of skin extending from their wrists to their ankles. This “flying” technique is because of these squirrels’ extra membrane between their legs and body which acts as a parachute when spread out during a jump or fall.

Flying squirrels are primarily nocturnal creatures, meaning they sleep during the day and come out at night. They spend most of their time in trees and build nests from leaves, twigs, bark, feathers, and fur inside hollowed-out tree trunks or branches, where they spend much time foraging for food. 

Flying Squirrels are social animals that usually live in groups ranging from two to eight individuals. They establish territories that can cover up to 10 acres (4 hectares) of forest land and will chase away any intruders that threaten them. 

Rounding Up

North American squirrels are an interesting and diverse group of animals. Despite their numerous differences, they share similar traits – bright eyes, bushy tails, and boundless energy. Whether you’re looking for Douglas Squirrels or Flying Squirrels, there is something special about watching these little critters go about their business. It’s a timeless reminder that nature can be found almost anywhere if we look around!