Goose Creek Lake Wildlife - Squirrels

Updated: 11/30/2017
Squirrels (Eastern Gray Squirrel and Fox Squirrel) Among the members of the squirrel family living in Missouri, the eastern gray and fox squirrels are the most common. Their common names are descriptive of the general coat color-the grayish of one, and the "reddish fox" coloration of the other.

The eastern gray and eastern fox squirrels are the most common members of the squirrel family living in Missouri. Their names aptly describe their general coat color; the first is usually gray, the other is usually reddish yellow. Eastern gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis): slender, smaller than the fox squirrel; fringe of tail and belly are white; back and sides of body are gray (rarely reddish or all black); total length (tip of nose to tip of tail) to 21 inches. Sometimes black individuals occur in the same litter with gray ones; these may be entirely glossy black or show various gradations between black and gray. Albino individuals occur occasionally; in some instances where this characteristic is common in the heredity of a local population, small colonies of albinos may be formed.

Eastern fox squirrel (Sciurus niger): heavy-bodied, larger than the gray squirrel; fringe of tail and billy are reddish yellow; back and sides of body are reddish yellow mixed with gray (body rarely all black); total length (tip of nose to tip of tail) to 29 inches. In Missouri, black or albino individuals occur rarely.

Similar species: Other members of the squirrel family (Sciuridae) that live in Missouri are the eastern chipmunk, woodchuck, thirteen-lined ground squirrel, Franklin's ground squirrel, and southern flying squirrel. None of these are likely to be confused with the two tree squirrels described here.

Size: Total length: 14–21 inches (gray), 19–29 inches (fox); weight: ¾–1½ pounds (gray), 1–3 pounds (fox).