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Fox Squirrel

Fox Squirrel
Photo by: 
Mary Nemecek

So am I crazy for writing my focus article on a squirrel? Given the number of folks who ask about them and even buy food specifically to feed them every day, I would think not. That being said, notice that I am writing about the Fox Squirrel and not the Gray Squirrel.

Fox Squirrels are named for their fox-like bushy tail and are commonly known as red squirrels in this area. This is a perfect example why common names can be so confusing. True Red Squirrels are very small and live typically in high elevations. While the Fox Squirrels in our area are predominantly orange or red in color, they can vary greatly. In eastern North Carolina were I am from, the primary color is gray with black “trim” but we also see pure black ones, white ones and various combinations.

If you are a lifetime resident of the Kansas City area, you probably remember a time when we had a lot more of the Fox Squirrels and Gray Squirrels were somewhat harder to find. This is because we were historically a prairie region with only scattered trees which favor Fox Squirrels. As Kansas City grew and more and more trees were planted, the conditions changed to favor the smaller, more aggressive Gray Squirrel. We see it all the time, Gray Squirrels harass the Fox Squirrels until they finally give up and move out.

Like all Tree Squirrels, they will eat a free meal of sunflower, corn and peanuts if you provide it for them. They just are not as big an issue for most of our customers. Quite often I hear the comment: “I don’t mind the red squirrels, but those dang Gray Squirrels drive me crazy”.