Eastern Grey Squirrel

Eastern grey squirrel, also popular as a grey squirrel, is a tree squirrel, native to eastern North America. These adorable species are commonly seen in parks, the backyard of the house, and in forests. The most notable physical feature of the grey squirrel is its large bushy tail.

Eastern grey squirrels occur in two color phases –grey and black. Let’s find out some more information about this little mammal.

Eastern Grey Squirrel

Eastern Grey Squirrel

 

Scientific Classification of Eastern Grey Squirrel

Kingdom:     Animalia

Phylum:       Chordata

Class:           Mammalia

Order:          Rodentia

Family:         Sciuridae

Genus:         Sciurus

Subgenus: Sciurus

Eastern Grey Squirrel Physical Description

Eastern grey squirrels have predominantly grey fur. They have a white underside that makes them look different than the other fox squirrels. Their large bushy tail helps them fight against predators. The head and body length of these species measure 23 – 30 cm.

Physical Description of Eastern Grey Squirrel

Physical Description of Eastern Grey Squirrel

The bushy tail stretches to a length of 19-25cm. As they don’t display any sexual dimorphism; there is no gender difference in size and coloration. They have four toes on the front feet and five on the hind feet. The dental formula of this squirrel is 1023/1013.

Distribution of Eastern Grey Squirrel

Native to Eastern and Midwestern United States, eastern grey squirrels are also found in the southerly portion of the eastern provinces of Canada. Grey squirrels are also found in several regions of western United States.

Distribution of Eastern Grey Squirrel

Distribution of Eastern Grey Squirrel

Eastern Grey Squirrel Habitat

Considered for being the largest amongst all tree squirrels, grey squirrel inhabits in areas surrounded by dense woodland. As they are nut-eating species, they are hugely seen in the vast tracts of oak and hickory forests. They prefer residing in forests because of dense vegetation, which is a source of food for these squirrels.

Habitat of Eastern Grey Squirrel

Habitat of Eastern Grey Squirrel

They are also found constructing dens upon tree branches and also within the hollow trunks of trees. Grey squirrels are known to take shelter within bird nests. You can often see them roaming in parks and backyards of houses of the rural environment.

Eastern Grey Squirrel Diet

Grey squirrels eat a variety of foods like tree buds, berries, a different type of seeds, walnuts, acorns, hazelnuts, etc. They also prefer having fungi like fly agaric mushrooms.

Diet of Eastern Grey Squirrel

Diet of Eastern Grey Squirrel

These squirrels raid gardens for corn, tomatoes, strawberries, and other garden crops. On several occasions, grey squirrels prey upon frogs, insects, small birds, and their eggs.

Eastern Grey Squirrel Behavior

Take a glance at some of the interesting behavioral traits of the eastern grey squirrel

  • These squirrels are active during the day.
  • They are busy in the afternoon and dawn.
  • Like other rodents, grey squirrels are scatter-hoarders.
  • These mammals are capable of feeding themselves throughout the year.
  • They can lose tail sheath and bones to escape a predator’s grasp.
  • Their alarm call sounds like rapid clicking sounds – Kuk, Kuk, Kuk.

Eastern Grey Squirrel Reproduction

Eastern grey squirrels breed twice a year. December to February and May to late June are notified for being their mating season. Their gestation period lasts for about 44 days. After the gestation period is over, the squirrel produces 2 to 5 young, naked squirrel babies.

Reproduction of Eastern Grey Squirrel

Reproduction of Eastern Grey Squirrel

The number can increase up to 8. These squirrels usually give birth to babies in the sheltered nest, created by them inside a hollow tree. The newborn babies are born blind and weigh near about 15gm. They mature quickly and their hair starts developing by three weeks.

Eastern Grey Squirrel Lifespan

These squirrels are found to live almost 20 years in captivity, but they live much shorter in the wild, because of predation and other challenges.

Eastern Grey Squirrel Predators

Unlike other mammals, grey squirrels have some natural predators too. Common predators of grey squirrels are red fox, snakes, raccoons, and hawks.

Eastern Grey Squirrel Diseases

These little species are host to several diseases and parasite attack. They can have cysts on their body, due to Botfly larvae. Worms, ticks, and lice are also responsible for harming these squirrels. Grey squirrels face ailments like Fibromatosis and squirrel pox. The historical origins of these viruses have not been determined yet.

Conservation of Eastern Grey Squirrel

IUCN has categorized this mammal as the least concern species on earth. They do not cause any damage to agricultural crops and are considered as important agents of reforestation. Their habit of burying nests helps re-establish hardwood forests.

Pictures of Eastern Grey Squirrel

Reproduction of Eastern Grey Squirrel

Reproduction of Eastern Grey Squirrel

Diet of Eastern Grey Squirrel

Diet of Eastern Grey Squirrel

Habitat of Eastern Grey Squirrel

Habitat of Eastern Grey Squirrel

Physical Description of Eastern Grey Squirrel

Physical Description of Eastern Grey Squirrel

Eastern Grey Squirrel

Eastern Grey Squirrel

Eastern Grey Squirrel Video


References

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