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If you live in Tennessee, chances are you have encountered a squirrel or two during your time outdoors. But did you know that there are actually several different types of squirrels that call this state home?
From the commonly seen Eastern Gray Squirrel to the elusive Northern Flying Squirrel, Tennessee boasts a diverse population of these furry creatures.
One of the most recognizable squirrels in Tennessee is the Eastern Gray Squirrel. With its gray fur and bushy tail, this squirrel can be found in almost every part of the state.
Another common type of squirrel in Tennessee is the Fox Squirrel. These squirrels are larger than Eastern Gray Squirrels and are known for their reddish-brown fur and long, bushy tails.
But these are just two of the many types of squirrels you might encounter in Tennessee. Keep reading to learn more about the different species of squirrels that live in the Volunteer State.
- Tennessee is home to several types of squirrels, including the Eastern Gray Squirrel, Fox Squirrel, Southern Flying Squirrel, Northern Flying Squirrel, and Red Squirrel.
- Each species has unique characteristics, such as the Southern Flying Squirrel’s ability to glide and the Red Squirrel’s preference for pine cones.
- Conservation efforts are needed to protect Tennessee’s wildlife, which faces threats such as habitat loss and disease.
- Despite human-dominated landscapes, the Eastern Gray Squirrel can thrive in urban and suburban areas.
1. Eastern Gray Squirrel
You’ll be amazed by how common the Eastern Gray Squirrel is in Tennessee! This species is one of the most widespread and abundant squirrels in the state and can be found in a variety of habitats, from forests and woodlands to urban and suburban areas.
The Eastern Gray Squirrel is native to North America and has a long history in Tennessee. It was once heavily hunted for its fur, but today it’s protected by law and considered a valuable part of the state’s wildlife.
The Eastern Gray Squirrel has a varied diet that includes nuts, seeds, fruits, and insects. It’s also known to eat bird eggs and small animals.
This species is active during the day and spends most of its time on the ground, although it’s an excellent climber and can easily climb trees and buildings.
The Eastern Gray Squirrel is highly adaptable and can thrive in human-dominated landscapes, making it a common sight in parks, gardens, and neighborhoods.
Despite its abundance, this species faces threats such as habitat loss and disease, highlighting the need for conservation efforts to protect Tennessee’s wildlife.
[Related Post: 10 Types Of Hawks In Tennessee]
2. Fox Squirrel
Get ready to meet the mischievous and charming fox squirrel, a beloved resident of Tennessee’s forests. These squirrels are larger in size than the Eastern Gray Squirrel and are known for their distinctive rust-colored fur.
Fox squirrels have several habitat preferences, including mature forests with oak and hickory trees, as well as open fields with scattered trees. They can also be found in suburban areas with ample vegetation.
Behavioral adaptations of the fox squirrel include their ability to store food for the winter months. They are known to bury nuts and seeds in the ground, and can remember the location of their food caches for several months.
Fox squirrels also have a unique defense mechanism against predators, such as hawks and owls. They will flatten their body against a tree trunk and remain motionless, blending in with their surroundings.
Overall, the fox squirrel’s adaptability and playful nature make them a favorite among Tennessee’s wildlife enthusiasts.
3 items to enjoy about Fox Squirrels:
- Watch them perform acrobatic feats as they leap from tree to tree.
- Listen to their playful chatter as they communicate with each other.
- Observe their unique color variations, ranging from rusty red to silver-gray.
3. Southern Flying Squirrel
If you’re lucky enough to spot one, you’ll be amazed at the gliding abilities of the Southern Flying Squirrel. These small, nocturnal squirrels have a furry membrane called a patagium that stretches between their front and hind legs, allowing them to glide up to 150 feet from tree to tree.
They are found throughout Tennessee, typically living in deciduous forests with plenty of mature trees for gliding and nesting. Southern Flying Squirrels are social creatures and often share nests with other squirrels.
They prefer to live in wooded areas with plenty of food sources, such as nuts, seeds, and fruits.
They are also known to raid bird feeders at night. During the winter, Southern Flying Squirrels will store food in their nests to sustain themselves through the colder months.
Overall, these squirrels have fascinating behavior patterns and habitat preferences that make them a unique and important part of Tennessee’s ecosystem.
4. Northern Flying Squirrel
The Northern Flying Squirrel, found in the forests of North America, possesses a similar patagium to the Southern Flying Squirrel, allowing it to glide smoothly from tree to tree. However, the Northern Flying Squirrel is slightly larger than its southern counterpart, measuring up to 12 inches in length.
- The Northern Flying Squirrel prefers coniferous forests, especially those with dense canopies that provide cover from predators.
- They also require large trees with cavities for nesting and storage of food.
- Northern Flying Squirrels are found at higher elevations than Southern Flying Squirrels, often in mountainous regions.
- They are nocturnal and arboreal, spending most of their time in trees.
Diet and foraging behavior:
- Northern Flying Squirrels are omnivorous, feeding on a variety of fungi, nuts, seeds, and insects.
- They use their keen sense of smell to locate food, often foraging in the same areas repeatedly.
- During the winter months, they rely heavily on stored food and may reduce their activity levels to conserve energy.
- Northern Flying Squirrels have been known to cache food in tree cavities or underground for later consumption.
5. Red Squirrel
You’ll be amazed to know that the Red Squirrel, also known as the Eurasian Red Squirrel, can be found in the forests of Europe and parts of Asia. In Tennessee, these small, agile rodents are not native, but they’ve been introduced to the state.
They can commonly be found in urban and suburban areas where there are trees for them to climb and nest in. The Red Squirrel’s habitat and behavior are similar to those of other tree squirrels.
They prefer coniferous forests with dense canopy coverage that allows them to easily move from tree to tree.
Their diet consists of a variety of foods, including seeds, nuts, fruits, and insects. However, they’re known for their preference for pine cones, which they’ll strip of their seeds and scales.
Their main predators include birds of prey, such as owls and hawks, as well as weasels and other small carnivores.
Despite these threats, the Red Squirrel has managed to thrive in many areas and it’s a fascinating species to observe.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there any endangered species of squirrels in Tennessee?
You’ll be interested to know that there are two endangered species of squirrels in Tennessee: the Carolina Northern flying squirrel and the Virginia big-eared bat. Conservation efforts are focused on habitat loss and population decline.
What is the average lifespan of squirrels in Tennessee?
The average lifespan of squirrels in Tennessee varies based on factors affecting lifespan, including predation, disease, and available food sources. Nutritional requirements can also impact lifespan, as a healthy diet can lead to a longer life.
Do squirrels in Tennessee hibernate during the winter months?
Do Tennessee squirrels hibernate during winter? Yes, they have various hibernation patterns and survival strategies to survive the harsh winter months. They conserve energy, lower their metabolism, and store food to survive.
How do squirrels in Tennessee adapt to urban environments?
Squirrels in Tennessee adapt to urban environments through urban adaptation and habitat fragmentation. They utilize human-made structures for shelter and food sources. However, this can lead to conflicts with humans and other wildlife.
Are there any unique behaviors or habits specific to the different types of squirrels in Tennessee?
When it comes to foraging techniques and social behavior, different types of squirrels in Tennessee exhibit unique habits. Some rely on caching food, others prefer to forage in groups, and some even engage in vocal communication to establish social hierarchies.