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Eastern gray squirrel

Sciurus carolinensis


Eastern grey squirrels are medium sized tree 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. Melanism means dark pigmentation. Melanism is common in northern populations of this species. Some populations of eastern grey squirrels are entirely melanistic, so that all squirrels in that area are black over their whole body. If you see a black squirrel, it is most likely an eastern grey squirrel that is melanistic. Some populations of eastern grey squirrels have higher rates of albinism, which results in white fur, but this is very rare.The total length of the squirrel ranges from 380 to 525 millimeters. The tail length ranges from 150-250 mm. You can tell eastern grey squirrels apart from fox squirrels by their white tipped fur and white or grayish belly. Eastern grey squirrels often have a lot of red in their fur.


Eastern grey squirrels prefer expanses of mature, mixed forest. These squirrels prefer having a continuous forest canopy so that they can forage and travel mainly in the trees, rather than travelling on the ground. By staying in the trees they are better protected from predators. Populations of eastern grey squirrels are highest in forests with trees that produce foods that last through winter storage. Oaks, walnuts, and pines are some of the trees produce foods that last through winter storage. Eastern grey squirrels also use trees for nests. They build leaf nests in the higher branches of large trees. Sometimes they use tree cavities and holes as nests for raising their young. These holes are also useful as shelter from extreme weather in winter.


Spotted in Gore Nature Park, Vancouver island, Canada. (sources: see reference)

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Spotted by

Brentwood Bay, British Columbia, Canada

Spotted on Sep 7, 2019
Submitted on Oct 22, 2019

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