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reddish fox squirrel (Sciurus niger rufiventer)

Distribution Map

Distribution Map

Characteristics

This species is larger than the gray squirrel and has an average total length of 532 mm, and a weight from 750-790 grams. There are 3 color phases including grayish, buff and black, but all have white ears, and nose and black top of the head. They have a flatter forehead than the gray squirrel, and orange underparts. One to two litters of 3-4 young are born each year. They are found at heights from 11-62 feet, and average 36 feet above the ground. They use leaf nests more than gray squirrel, and may use 1-3 shelters within a territory. Leaf nests are more often in the summer, with a tree cavity used in the fall and winter. They may become inactive during winter cold periods but there is no hibernation. They may live to 10 years or more.

Distribution

This species makes dens in decayed out areas of trees and limbs. Open woodlots with clearings and interspersed unbroken forest are unsuitable. They often live along forest borders. Ideal habitat is small stands of large trees interspersed with agricultural lands.

Foods

This species is primarily a herbivore, but does consume some insects (adults and larvae) and bird eggs. It stores nuts, and other food for later retrieval by burying it shallowly. Succulent vegetation normally satisfies moisture requirements.

More Information

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