Eastern Fox Squirrel

Sciurus niger

Animal Ambassadors

Copper

Penny

The eastern fox squirrel is a relatively large squirrel with a long, bushy tail. They have a wide variety of colorations. The scientific name ‘niger’ means black, which was the fur color of the first individual described. However, the name ‘fox squirrel’ refers to the reddish, fox-like color that is common in the species. These large squirrels are arboreal, meaning that they spend large portions of their day in the trees. Their long, bushy tails help them to balance while jumping from limb to limb. Sharp, curved claws and specially adapted ankle joints make the eastern fox squirrel an adept climber. This species is also able to hang by its hind limbs while grasping food in its front paws.
Although well adapted to life in the trees, eastern fox squirrels also spend a considerable amount of their time on the ground. And while they are fairly good at finding where they hid their food, seeds and nuts that are forgotten grow into new trees in the spring! This means that they, like many squirrels, play an important role in forest seed dispersal. Eastern fox squirrels are considered an invasive species on the West coast because they out-compete native squirrels for food and nesting sites. Because of this, Wildlife Images was allowed to keep these individuals as Ambassador animals, giving us a chance to educate the public on invasive species and the differences between them and our native squirrels.

Diet:
Primarily nuts and seeds; also eats green shoots and buds, fruits, berries, corn, insects, moths and beetles
Range:
East coast and central North America
Lifespan:
Up to 10 years / Up to 18 years
Habitat:
Deciduous and mixed forests with little undergrowth and nut producing trees, cypress and mangrove swamps
Length / Wingspan:
15 - 21 inches
Weight:
1.5 - 2 lbs