Foraging fox squirrels

Fox squirrel (Sciurus niger, Sciuridae) photographed 10/14/2012 at Side Cut Metropark near Maumee, Ohio.

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.

Fox squirrel (Sciurus niger, Sciuridae) photographed 10/14/2012 at Side Cut Metropark near Maumee, Ohio.

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):

Fox squirrel (Sciurus niger, Sciuridae) photographed 10/14/2012 at Side Cut Metropark near Maumee, Ohio.

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.

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About Jeremy Sell

Science and nature nerd.
This entry was posted in Botany, Ecology, Vertebrate Zoology and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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