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If you’re a squirrel enthusiast or just interested in learning more about the wildlife in South Dakota, you’ll be happy to know that the state is home to three unique squirrel species.
By learning more about these three squirrel species, you’ll gain a better appreciation for the wildlife that calls South Dakota home.
- The three types of squirrels in South Dakota are American Red Squirrel, Fox Squirrel, and Northern Flying Squirrel.
- Each type of squirrel has unique characteristics such as habitat, diet, lifespan, and predators.
- American Red Squirrels can be aggressive and cause damage to bird feeders while Fox Squirrels are adaptable and excellent jumpers.
- Northern Flying Squirrels are nocturnal and spend most of their time at the tops of trees, gliding between branches.
1. American Red Squirrel
You may already know about the American Red Squirrel, but did you know that they’re known for their aggressiveness? They can even chase away Eastern Gray Squirrels from bird feeders.
These reddish-colored squirrels with white bellies have a varied diet. It includes seeds from evergreen trees, berries, bird eggs, acorns, hazelnuts, mushrooms, mice, and sunflower seeds.
American Red Squirrels are smaller than gray and fox squirrels but larger than chipmunks. They’re found in coniferous forests. They can fit through most caged bird feeders.
They’re notorious for causing damage to them. They can even chew through hard plastic to get to the seed.
Although they have a lifespan of 2.3 years on average, they’re predated upon by a variety of animals. These animals include bobcats, coyotes, hawks, owls, foxes, American Martens, and Canadian Lynxes.
Despite their small size, their aggressive behavior and ability to chase away other squirrel species make them a force to be reckoned with in the animal kingdom.
[Related Post: 10 Types Of Hawks In South Dakota]
2. Fox Squirrel
If you’re lucky enough to spot a Fox Squirrel in your neighborhood park, you’ll be amazed by their impressive jumping abilities, reaching distances of up to 15 feet horizontally.
These squirrels are the largest tree squirrel in South Dakota and can adapt to many different habitats, including urban parks and neighborhoods.
They are commonly found foraging on the ground and spend much of their time there. The lifespan of Fox Squirrels differs between males and females.
Females have a maximum lifespan of 12.6 years, while males have a maximum lifespan of 8.6 years.
However, they are still preyed upon by foxes, coyotes, and birds of prey. Despite their urban adaptation, they are not immune to predation threats.
3. Northern Flying Squirrel
Get ready to be amazed by the only flying squirrel species in South Dakota – the Northern Flying Squirrel! They have cinnamon or light brown colored fur and a whitish belly.
These nocturnal creatures spend most of their time at the tops of trees and are rarely found on the ground. They are clumsy walkers, but instead, they glide between branches, with an average glide length between 16-82 feet.
It would be incredible to see them glide during the day! These squirrels have a unique food habit. They do not gather and store much food for winter since they do not hibernate.
Their diet includes fungi, insects, bird eggs, and tree sap.
Although information on population sizes is not available, it is known that they are preyed upon by owls. Even though they are more common than most people realize, they are rarely seen as they are small, nocturnal, and live at the tops of trees.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the cultural significance of squirrels in South Dakota?
Squirrels in South Dakota have limited cultural significance, but they can be found in art and folklore. Hunting laws regulate their population, and they are occasionally used in squirrel recipes or as materials for squirrel related products.
How do these three types of squirrels compare in terms of mating habits?
Reproductive behaviors of squirrels vary between species. Breeding patterns, courtship rituals, and mating season differ depending on the squirrel. Offspring development also varies, with some species having litters and others having solitary young.
What is the population size of each type of squirrel in South Dakota?
Population estimates for American Red, Fox, and Northern Flying Squirrels in South Dakota are unknown. Habitat requirements, food preferences, and behavioral adaptations differ among the three species, leading to unique distribution patterns throughout the state.
Are there any conservation efforts in place to protect these squirrels?
Conservation efforts in South Dakota aim to protect wildlife habitats, monitor population sizes, educate the public, and establish wildlife corridors. These efforts benefit all native species, including American Red Squirrels, Fox Squirrels, and Northern Flying Squirrels.
How do these squirrels interact with other wildlife in South Dakota, such as deer or rabbits?
Squirrels in South Dakota can interact with other wildlife through predator-prey relationships and habitat competition. Behavioral adaptations and seasonal variations may affect these interactions, but there is no evidence of significant disease transmission.