Eastern Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis)
Eastern gray squirrels are medium-sized squirrels with long, bushy tails. Their fur color can vary from yellowish-brown to silvery grey, depending on the individual and the time of year. Melanistic gray squirrels with entirely black fur are common in some regions.
Gray squirrels are arboreal, or tree-dwelling. Their natural range covers most of the eastern United States. They primarily dwell in mature forests, but they are also a common sight in parks and suburban areas.
Gray squirrels are omnivorous. While they primarily eat seeds, nuts, buds, and flowers, they will also consume insects during the summer. Gray squirrels are scatter hoarders; in the autumn they bury food in small caches which are recovered and eaten during the winter. The seeds that are not consumed often germinate into new plants or trees.
During the breeding seasons in late winter and late spring, the male squirrels compete for the right to mate with the females. Eastern gray squirrels usually have two litters per year, with an average of four young in each litter. Most wild gray squirrels live to be about 6, but one captive gray squirrel was known to reach age 23.
Fun Fact: Gray squirrels are very agile, and can move at speeds of 10-15 mph. Not only can they climb and jump, they are also strong swimmers!