How to Identify A Gray Squirrel
There are two species of gray squirrels. Eastern gray squirrels or Sciurus carolinensis are the most common species of squirrel. They’re native to Eastern North America and they’re found everywhere. They’ve also been introduced into Australia, Britain, Italy, and South Africa, but they have turned into a problem in Europe because they are displacing native squirrels. They are also considered invasive in Australia.
On the other hand, Western gray squirrels or Sciurus griseus only live in California, Oregon, and Washington. Despite their similarities in appearance, the two species actually have different evolutionary origins. Eastern gray squirrels are related to fox squirrels and red squirrels, while the western gray squirrels are related to Abert’s squirrels.
How to Identify Red Squirrels
Eurasian red squirrels or Sciurus vulgaris are small, tree-climbing squirrels found across Europe and parts of Asia. It is also the national mammal of Denmark. In Great Britain, Ireland, and Italy, red squirrels have drastically dwindled down in numbers due to the
introduction of the eastern gray squirrel in their territories. It is also listed as being of least concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
On the other hand, the American red squirrel or Tamiasciurus hudsonicus, commonly known as pine squirrels, are found across North America, typically wherever conifer trees are common in the area. These regions include the Rocky Mountains and across Canada. As a result, these types of squirrels aren’t found in the south eastern United States and places like the Great Plains, since conifer trees aren’t common in these areas.
Although these two squirrels share the same name, they have a number of differences. Read more below to see their differences and similarities!
How to Identify A Fox Squirrel
The fox squirrel or Sciurus niger is Minnesota’s biggest tree squirrel. Its scientific name means “black” and it refers to the first recorded fox squirrel’s black fur. Nowadays, there are many color combinations that exist within the species. Fox squirrels are widely found in eastern North America. They prefer savannah-like environments and widely spaced trees.
They also prefer oak, cypress, hickory, mangroves, and pine forests. These preferences also allow them to do well in urban environments. That’s why they can be found anywhere from the southern tip of Florida all the way to the Canadian border.
Fox squirrels do not have bodies as agile as red or gray squirrels, and they sometimes comically fall from trees but they rarely get hurt. Their muscular bodies and sharp claws also help them get back on their feet.
A flying squirrel is a tree squirrel that can’t fly, contrary to its name, but can glide due to a special membrane between their front and back legs. A common misconception about them is that they are just regular squirrels that can “fly,” but this is far from the truth.
Their ability to glide is more than just jumping from one tree to another, flying squirrels do complex maneuvers like twisting and turning, giving them the ability to avoid trees and predators. It only takes a few weeks for a newborn to learn how to glide and a few
more weeks for them to learn how to do maneuvers like an adult.
Flying squirrels can glide over 100 feet in the air before landing. They land by clinging onto a tree with their claws rather than landing on the ground. When squirrels forage, they go to both the trees and the ground because they contain food that the flying
The best time of the year to watch flying squirrels is during the autumn season because they are more active during this time, before the upcoming winter season. Flying squirrels do not hibernate and still go out to forage during the winter season, but less often and only when needed.
Mother flying squirrels are protective and caring for their young. They go as far as building a second nest, similar to humans remaking a room to make it suitable for a baby. Mother flying squirrels would not hesitate to fight bigger predators if it meant
keeping their younglings away from danger.
Flying squirrels have many traits that differentiate them from regular squirrels. We will be going over these differences and diving more into these traits.