Eastern Grey Squirrel

Physical Description

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Eastern grey squirrels are medium sized Squirrels.   Males and females are similar in size and color. The fur on their back  ranges from grizzled dark grey to pale grey and may have red tones.  Their ears are pale grey to white. Their tail is white to pale grey. The  underparts are grey to white. 

Habitat

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Eastern Grey Squirrels prefer large blocks of hardwood or mixed forests, as well as in  urban and suburban areas. Prefers mature deciduous and mixed forests  with abundant supplies of mast (e.g., acorns, hickory nuts). A diversity  of nut trees is needed to support high densities. Also uses city parks  and floodplains. Seldom far from permanent open water. In southern  Alabama, narrow bands of hardwoods along ephemeral streams were an  important component of the habitat in even-aged pine and mixed  pine-hardwood stands. Rests in tree cavity or leaf nest; leaf nests  apparently are made primarily by dispersing juveniles 18-19 weeks old.  Nests in tree cavities or in leaf nests, usually 25 feet or more above  the ground. 

Behavior/Diet

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Eastern grey squirrels communicate among themselves with a variety of  vocalizations and postures, such as tail flicking.  They also have a  keen sense of smell and can determine much about their neighbors in this  way, including levels of stress and reproductive condition.  Eastern Grey Squirrels feeds mostly on  nuts, flowers and buds of more than 24 species of  oaks, 10 species of  hickory, pecan, walnut and beech tree species.  Maple, mulberry,  hackberry, elm, bucky and horse chestnut fruits, seeds, bulbs or flowers  are also eaten along with wild cherry, dogwood, hawthorn, black gum,  hazelnut, hop hornbeam and gingko tree fruits, seeds, bulbs and/or  flowers.  The seeds and catkins of gymnosperms such as cedar, hemlock,  pine, and spruce are another food source along with a variety of  herbaceous plants and fungi.  Crops, such as corn and wheat, are eaten,  especially in the winter.  Insects are eaten in the summer and are  probably especially important for juveniles.   Cannibalism has been  reported, and squirrels may also eat bones, bird eggs and nestlings, and  frogs.   They bury food in winter caches using a method called scatter  hoarding and locate these caches using both memory and smell.