Fox squirrels (Sciurus niger, Sciuridae) are the largest tree squirrels in North America. Unlike other tree squirrel species they have a preference for more open areas where trees aren’t very dense. Historically they were found in part in the oak savannas of northwest Ohio, northeast Indiana, and south-central Michigan, but their range has increased with deforestation since European settlement began.
A few weeks ago I found a number of these individuals foraging for tree nuts at Side Cut Metropark near Maumee, Ohio. These squirrels don’t hibernate and rely on a provision of food to get them through the winter. The individual below was carrying what appeared to be a black walnut (Juglans nigra, Juglandaceae):
Other popular foods include oak acorns and the nuts from hickory and beech trees, all of which are common in this area. They will also eat a variety of berries, seeds, and even insects. Unlike many other species their adaptability to human influence has made them rather successful.