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gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis carolinensis)

Photos

Distribution Map

Distribution Map

Characteristics

This is a large squirrel weighing 16-18 ounces and having a total length of 12-21 inches. It has a bushy tail, moderate ears without tufts and a grayish to yellowish brown coat on the upper parts (though no hair is all gray, some tipped with white), white under and on the chin, abdomen, and ventral legs. The fur is longer in the winter. . They are distinguished from red squirrel by their larger size, gray color, white-bordered tail, and from the fox squirrel by their smaller size and white-edged tail. The females have 1 or 2 litters per year, averaging 2-3 young per litter.. The daily movement is mostly within about 200 yards. There is no hibernation but cold, rain, snowstorm and especially high winds cause this species to remain in the den for several days. They have many calls to communicate. The potential longevity in the wild is 6 years.

Distribution

This subspecies of Gray Squirrel is common throughout the southeastern quarter of the state. They are found in extensive forests, but also city parks, and backyards. Large, relatively unbroken forest tracts are used.

Foods

This species is primarily herbivorous but does eat insects, eggs and young birds. On normal days under wild conditions, there are 2 main feeding periods: early morning and late afternoon. They move when the nut supply is exhausted. Each one may bury 1000 nuts per year.

More Information

For more information, please visit the Virginia Fish & Wildlife Information Service (direct link to species booklet).