Types of Animals
Estimates vary, however, there are around ten different species of tree squirrels in the United States.
Tree squirrels generally grow to a medium size, allowing them to nest in tree cavities or limbs. Three different species are presented here.
Gray Squirrels and Fox Squirrels rank among the most common tree squirrels found in residential areas across the United States. They are active year round, often visiting backyard bird feeders.
The Douglas Squirrel (Tamiasciurus douglasii) inhabits coniferous forests along Western North America.
Relatively small in size, they subsist primarily on the seeds growing in the cones of trees within their territory.
Like other tree squirrels, they can be chatty, often barking as humans that enter their territory.
Active during the day, they are a fun species to watch during their work and play periods.
Two species of gray squirrels can be found frolicking around residential areas of the United States.
The Eastern Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis), native to the East Coast of the United States, was introduced to the West Coast in the early Twentieth Century.
The West also claims the Western Gray Squirrel as a native species. In areas where the two species overlap, facial fur color usually serves as the key field identification mark.
Eastern Gray Squirrels typically have reddish fur around the face.
The picture shows the Western Gray Squirrel, with its characteristic white belly and bushy tail.
They are tree squirrels that nest in tree cavities or on large limbs.
The Fox Squirrel (Sciurus niger), a large tree squirrel, indigenous to the eastern United States, was introduced to the West Coast, and is now found in parks and residential areas on both coasts.
Populations exhibit color variations, depending on location. Generally, their coats range from brown to red, with the belly lighter in color.
They are territorial animals that do not range far from their nesting tree, preferring to forage for nuts, seeds and sometimes fruit in the immediate area.
They bark at intruders, including humans, when they think their territory is being threatened.
Fox Squirrels and Red Squirrels have red coats. Red Squirrels also have a distinct white eye ring.
© 2006-2012 Patricia A. Michaels