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Delmarva Peninsula fox squirrel (Sciurus niger cinereus)

Photos

Distribution Map

Distribution Map

Characteristics

The body is gray to steel blue, and the belly, nose, ears, feet, and eye-ring are whitish. There is an indistinct white blaze on the top of the head, with a few black-tipped hairs on the hind feet and there is a subterminal white tail band. This species is about 1.5 times the size of the gray squirrel, the ears are shorter, and the fur longer and coarser. The average size of the adult is 579 mm in total length and it has a weight of 1.75-3 pounds. One to two litters of 3-4 young are born each year. They are more terrestrial, slower and less agile than the gray squirrel. This species is polygamous and the female raises the young alone.

Distribution

Transplanted individuals at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge are apparently doing well. Transplanted individuals from Chincoteague NWR to Brownsville have not yet had enough time to determine their success. Unique habitat features are fences and hedgerows, tree cavities and standing snags. The preferred habitat is old growth loblolly pine forests or deep deciduous swamps or backwoods adjacent to pine woods. They are also associated with lowland, swampy areas and narrow tree zones along rivers and streams, although they are more associated with the vegetation than the water.

Foods

This species will consume berries, buds, nuts, seed and green shoots of species such as oak, hickory, beech, walnut and loblolly pine. They have been known to eat and cache mushrooms. They will also eat the cambium, bark, leaves and twigs of deciduous trees during the spring. They also consume agricultural crops such as corn, soybean, wheat, barley, oats, apples and other field and fruit crops.

More Information

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