fox squirrel (Sciurus niger vulpinus)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CONFIRMATION STATUS: Confirmed. The fox squirrel, also
known as the eastern fox squirrel, was confirmed as occurring in
Sky Meadows State Park in May, 2012.

 

CHARACTERISTICS: They are larger than the gray squirrel, and
smaller than the typical niger with the coloration less variable, buff brown
dorsally, and white ventrally, with the tail grayish-white above, orange
below, and the top of head black. They have a flatter forehead than the
gray squirrel. The average total length of 3 Virginia specimens is 545-618
mm, and the average weight is 750-950 grams (1 1/5 - 3 lbs.). One to two
litters of 3-4 young are born each year. There are 2 types of nests: The leaf
nest is a loose mass of leaves and twigs and the den is a cavity. They are
found at heights from 11-62 feet above the ground. They use leaf nests more
than gray squirrel, and may use 1-3 shelters within the territory. They are
diurnal and forage largely on the ground. They may become inactive during
winter cold periods but there is no hibernation.

 

DISTRIBUTION: This subspecies is relatively common in most counties
west of the Blue Ridge mountains in Virginia. A specimen typical of this
subspecies was reported from Southampton County. This species makes
dens in decayed-out areas of trees and limbs. They use open woodlots
with clearings interspersed, and unbroken forest is unsuitable. It often
lives along forest borders, ideally in small stands of large trees inter-
spersed with agricultural lands.

 

FOODS: This species is primarily a herbivore, but does consume some
insects (adults and larvae) and bird eggs. Soybeans are used as an auxiliary
food. This species stores nuts, and other food for later retrieval by burying
it shallowly. Succulent vegetation will normally satisfy their moisture
requirements.

 

 

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