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Are you curious about the different types of squirrels that call Missouri home? The state is home to four distinct species of squirrels, each with their own unique characteristics and behaviors.
From the common Eastern Gray Squirrel to the elusive Red Squirrel, there’s plenty to learn about these fascinating creatures.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the four types of squirrels found in Missouri. You’ll learn about their physical characteristics, habitats, diets, and behavior patterns.
Whether you’re a wildlife enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply looking to expand your knowledge, this article will provide you with a comprehensive introduction to the squirrels of Missouri.
So, let’s dive in and explore the fascinating world of Missouri’s squirrel population!
- Missouri is home to four main species of squirrels: Eastern Gray Squirrel, Fox Squirrel, Red Squirrel, and Southern Flying Squirrel.
- Each species has distinct physical characteristics, habitats, diets, and behavior patterns.
- Squirrels in Missouri are adaptable to various environments, including forests, suburban areas, parks, and urban environments.
- Missouri’s squirrel population plays an important role in the ecosystem and is a fascinating subject for wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers.
1. The Eastern Gray Squirrel: Missouri’s Most Common Squirrel Species
The Eastern Gray Squirrel, which happens to be the most commonly found species in Missouri, is quite a fascinating creature. These squirrels are known for their distinctive gray fur, bushy tails, and their ability to climb trees with ease.
They have a varied diet, consisting of nuts, seeds, fruits, and insects.
Eastern Gray Squirrels are also known for their behavioral patterns, such as caching food in various locations for later consumption.
In terms of habitat preferences, Eastern Gray Squirrels are adaptable creatures that can be found in a variety of environments including forests, suburban areas, and parks.
They build nests, also known as dreys, in the forks of trees and use them as shelter during harsh weather conditions.
Eastern Gray Squirrels are also known for their social behavior, and can often be seen playing and chasing each other in groups.
Overall, the Eastern Gray Squirrel is a fascinating species that plays an important role in Missouri’s ecosystem.
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2. The Fox Squirrel: A Colorful and Energetic Missouri Native
Native to Missouri, Fox Squirrels are known for their vibrant colors and lively behavior. These squirrels are typically larger in size than the Eastern Gray Squirrel, with males weighing up to 2 pounds and females up to 1.5 pounds.
Their fur color can range from orange-brown to black, with some having a mix of colors on their bodies. The Fox Squirrel’s tail is also distinctive, with a bushy appearance and a reddish hue.
In terms of habitat preferences, Fox Squirrels can be found in a variety of environments such as forests, parks, and residential areas. They prefer larger trees to live in, and often build their nests in tree cavities or leafy branches.
These squirrels are also able to adapt to urban environments and can be found in cities and towns across Missouri.
Despite their colorful appearance, Fox Squirrels are still considered a common and important part of Missouri’s wildlife.
3. The Red Squirrel: A Smaller and More Elusive Squirrel in Missouri
Smaller than the Fox Squirrel and often difficult to spot, the Red Squirrel is a fascinating and elusive species found in Missouri. These critters are about half the size of a Fox Squirrel, with a body length of up to 9 inches and a tail length of up to 7 inches. Their fur is a reddish-brown color with white underparts, and they have distinct tufts of fur on their ears.
Red squirrels are most commonly found in coniferous forests, where they prefer to live in mature stands of trees. They’re known for their territorial behavior and will fiercely defend their home range against intruders.
Some other interesting behaviors and preferences of the Red Squirrel include:
- They’re active during the day and are most active in the early morning and late afternoon.
- They’re known for their vocalizations, which include a variety of barks, chatters, and screeches.
- They have a diet that includes a variety of nuts, seeds, and fruits, as well as insects and fungi.
- They build nests called dreys in the branches of trees, which they use for rest, shelter, and raising their young.
4. The Southern Flying Squirrel: A Nocturnal and Gliding Species in Missouri
Get ready to glide through the night with the Southern Flying Squirrel, a fascinating and unique species found in the forests of Missouri.
Unlike other squirrels, the Southern Flying Squirrel is a nocturnal species, meaning they are active at nighttime. They have large, black eyes that help them see in the dark, and their gliding ability allows them to move quickly and gracefully through the trees.
The Southern Flying Squirrel is smaller than other species found in Missouri, measuring only 8-10 inches in length. Their most unique feature is their ability to glide through the air, thanks to specialized skin flaps that extend from their front legs to their hind legs.
They can glide up to 150 feet in a single jump, using their long, bushy tail to steer and adjust their direction. Overall, the Southern Flying Squirrel is a fascinating species that’s worth keeping an eye out for during your next nighttime forest adventure in Missouri.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the lifespan of a squirrel in Missouri?
Squirrels in Missouri typically live for 3-5 years, with some species living up to 10 years. Their life cycle includes mating in late winter or early spring, with females giving birth to litters of 2-8 offspring. Squirrel behavior includes caching food for winter survival.
Are there any endangered squirrel species in Missouri?
You might be interested to know that there are two endangered squirrel species in Missouri: the northern flying squirrel and the Ozark big-eared bat. Conservation efforts are being made to address habitat loss and protect these important species.
What is the significance of squirrels in Missouri’s ecosystem?
Squirrels play a significant role in Missouri’s ecosystem by aiding in seed dispersal and controlling insect populations. Their behavior patterns, such as caching food, also contribute to forest regeneration. Understanding the importance of squirrels can lead to better conservation efforts.