Eastern Fox Squirrel

Sciurus niger
Chuck Fergus

Fox squirrels are found mainly in the western and southern counties. Unlike grays, fox squirrels prefer open, park-like woods with sparse ground cover, usually avoiding mountains and extensive forests. Their nesting, denning and feeding habits are much like those of gray squirrels. Fox squirrels have gray to reddish-gray upper parts and buff to pale orange-brown undersides. Larger than grays, weighing nearly two pounds, they are slower, more sluggish and less vocal. They are about 21 inches in length, including a 10-inch tail.

Like the other Pennsylvania tree squirrels, fox squirrels never actually hibernate in winter but will hole up and sleep soundly through several days of snowstorms or extreme cold. Mating season is in January, and young are born in late February or early March. Average litter size is 2 to 4 young; only one litter is raised per year. Fleas, chiggers and mosquitoes may bother squirrels, and tapeworms have been found in some specimens. Fox and gray squirrels seem to get along together wherever their ranges overlap.

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Pennsylvania Game Commission
Bureau of Wildlife Management
Attn: Mammal Atlas Coordinator
2001 Elmerton Avenue
Harrisburg, PA 17110
MammalAtlas@pa.gov
Pennsylvania Game Commission
Bureau of Wildlife Management
717-787-5529