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Fox squirrel - Sciurus niger

Characteristics
Range
Habitat
Diet
Life Cycle
Behavior
 Classification

 Phylum: Chordata
 Class: Mammalia
 Order: Rodentia 
 Family: Sciuridae 
 Genus:  Sciurus

fox squirrel

ICUN Redlist - World Status: Least ConcernLeast Concern  
  Characteristics

fox squirrelThe fox squirrel is the largest tree squirrel. It is 10-15 inches in length. It has three distinct color patterns. In the northeastern part of its range, it is gray above with yellowish undersides. In the western part of its range, it is gray above and rust colored on its undersides. In the southern part of its range, it is black and brown with a white stripe on its face and a white tip on its tail. The fox squirrel is also known as the eastern fox squirrel.

fox squirrelA subspecies of the fox squirrel, the Delmarva fox squirrel (Sciurus niger cinereus), was once found in the  Delmarva Peninsula, southeastern Pennsylvania, and southern New Jersey. It is now found on the eastern shore of Maryland and Virginia. The Delmarva fox squirrel has a bushy tail and is gray with a white belly.

 

  Range
mapThe fox squirrel can be found in the eastern and central United States west to the Dakotas, Colorado, and Texas. It is not found in New England, most of New Jersey, western New York and northern and eastern Pennsylvania. Its range also extends into northern Mexico and southern Canada.
  Habitat
The fox squirrel lives deciduous and mixed forests. In the south, it can also be found in cypress and mangrove swamps.
  Diet
fox squirrelThe fox squirrel eats acorns, hickory, walnut, beech, mulberry and hawthorne seeds. It also eats green shoots and buds, fruits, berries, corn, insects, moths and beetles. Nuts are stored for use in the winter. The fox squirrel locates its stashes using its keen sense of smell.

  Life Cycle
fox squirrelThe fox squirrel can mate at any time of the year, but mating usually reaches its peak in December and June. Usually, more than one male will chase or follow a female. The successful male will then protect the female from the other males. 45 days after mating the female gives birth to a litter of two to four young, usually in a nest in a hollow tree. She may have two litters a year.

fox squirrelThe young are born naked and blind. Their eyes will open when they are five weeks old, and they are weaned when they are eight weeks old. They will begin to climb about the tree when they are seven or eight weeks old and climb down to the ground at about ten weeks. They are independent when they are about three months old

  Behavior
fox squirrelThe fox squirrel is a solitary animal, although it will share a feeding area with other squirrels. It spends most of the day eating and gathering and storing food. It usually nests in a tree hollow, if it can't find one it will build a leaf nest in the a crotch in a tree.





 


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