The Arizona gray squirrel is native to the forests and mountains of Arizona, New Mexico, and Northern Mexico. They usually can be found at elevations between 1,500 and 1,900 feet about sea level, but they live at lower elevations in Mexico.
Arizona gray squirrels favor sycamore trees, which are prone to developing cavities perfect for nesting when they get old. In New Mexico, they reside in canyons with running water. One squirrel may have several leaf nests or just one. In the winter, several squirrels will occupy one nest to share body heat.
The diet of an Arizona gray squirrel mostly consists of walnuts, although they also eat other nuts, berries, seeds, pine cones, acorns, and fungi. In New Mexico especially, Arizona gray squirrels live in areas with plenty of walnuts and acorns.
These squirrels can easily be observed by humans during most of the year, aside from the breeding season and when females are caring for their young. The breeding season for Arizona gray squirrels occurs in April and May, when flowers rich in vitamin A begin to bloom. These vitamins provide the nutrients necessary for the squirrels to reproduce. Not every female chooses to breed every year but when they do, the two-month-long pregnancy usually results in two to four babies.
Arizona gray squirrels are afraid of cats, skunks, and snakes. When alarmed, they will usually run or climb to a hiding place. They may also stand completely still to avoid detection. They are fairly quiet animals most of the time but if they spot danger and are already in a safe place, they will make a barking alarm call.
Although Arizona gray squirrels are generally not afraid of humans, that doesn’t mean that humans pose no threat to them. Deforestation and logging destroy the habitat of Arizona gray squirrels. Abert’s squirrel, which often occupies the same region as Arizona gray squirrels, may outcompete the Arizona gray squirrels for food. These squirrels are nothing but beneficial to humans, however. They disperse seeds which promote the growth of wild plants.
While the data for population size is lacking, it is safe to say that there are few Arizona gray squirrels. In Mexico, they are an endangered species. In Arizona, they may soon be listed as such.
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