Fox squirrels can be found from Canada to Mexico, though most of their range is in the eastern and central United States. They live in both deciduous and mixed forests. They aren’t often found in forests with dense undergrowth.
Fox squirrels live in two types of shelters, nests, and dens. Usually, they have at least one of each. To make a den, they usually find natural cavities in trees or use ones made by birds. If none are available, they will make their own den in hollow trees. In areas that are populated by humans, tree squirrels use buildings to nest in rather than strictly trees.
The diet of fox squirrels varied depending on their location. They commonly eat buds, fruit, tubers, bulbs, roots, seeds, fungi, eggs, and insects. In agricultural areas, they also eat grains such as wheat and crops such as corn. Fox squirrels are diurnal and spend most of the day foraging on the ground. Throughout the year, fox squirrels like to cache food, especially nuts and acorns.
Fox squirrels are not especially social or playful, although they have been known to live in small groups during the winter. They have a large range of vocalizations to warn of approaching predators and to signal distress. They also communicate with each other through scent marking and flicking their tails. The most common time to see fox squirrels together is during the mating season. At this time, pairs of fox squirrels may share a den or nest. Females mate with several males while fertile, though males compete with each other for her attention.
They are capable of reproducing in early winter and early summer. It is typical for a fox squirrel to produce two litters of pups per year, although some only produce one. The average size of a litter is three pups, though litters can be as large as seven. Fox squirrel pups develop slowly for rodents. They are born blind and bald. Their eyes and ears don’t open until well over a month. They aren’t capable of caring for themselves until approximately four months of age, although they may stay with their mothers through the winter if they were born in the summer.
To read more about squirrels, check out this blog post about National Squirrel Appreciation Day!
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