Sunday, March 22, 2015

Fox Squirrel

Who knew there was such a creature?
When we first spied our visitor during the first weeks at the farm, we noted the billowing rufus tail and realized this was not a common grey or red squirrel.
In spite of his robust size, he obviously was not a fox.
A friend assured us that we have in residence a fox squirrel.
[He also cautioned us that fox squirrels don't make good eating--not that we had any such intentions!]

 The fox squirrel (Sciurus niger), also known as the eastern fox squirrel or Bryant's fox squirrel, is the largest species of tree squirrel native to North America.[Wikipedia]

Fox squirrels are apparently fairly common in our area, sustained by the abundance of oak and walnut trees. The steep ridges rising to east and west behind the farm house are a perfect habitat.
We have seen the fox squirrel several times.
No matter how quietly I let myself out of the house, camera at the ready, he senses my presence and goes bounding deeper into the woods, his plume of a tail marking his passage, although the rest of his body blends into the carpet of dead leaves.
These photos were taken with the zoom--after I cautiously exited the house from the front door and crept to the back of the building, slipping out from the corner and getting these shots before the creature sensed that I was watching.
Note the blaze of white on his face; I'm told this is an indication of a mature squirrel.
Some may have black streaks on their heads or backs.

Only the tail is visible as the squirrel scurries down the fence post.
[Why am I assuming this is a "he?"]
I hope his wariness and agility keep him safe from the interests of the barn cats!


  1. Oh I would love to see one of these!! I had to look them up on Google to get a closer look. They are enormous -- and what a gorgeous tail! I almost thought this was a case of another Jackalope,

  2. Oh gosh, he's a handsome chap. We just have the pesky (American!) grey squirrels here, though Tam did see Red Squirrels from her Hostel bedroom in Copenhagen recently. They only survive in Scotland, and in very small areas in Wales (I've seen one just outside Llandovery) and northern England, and Brownsea Island off the Dorset coast.

    Amazing how changing location just slightly has shown a different habitat and "critters".

  3. How lovely to have all those wild creatures in your back yard!

  4. What an interesting squirrel.

    Happy Spring and belated Happy Birthday to you ~ FlowerLady

  5. I'd never heard of one, but my husband assures me he has and in fact has seen them.

  6. I'd never heard of one! They look huge and I'd love to see one. Not very likely round these parts though....