A Field Guide to Tree Squirrels

This field guide provides information on the common tree squirrel, including the Eastern gray squirrel, Fox squirrel, Red squirrel, Douglas squirrel, and Abert squirrel.

| July/August 1986

Reprinted from MOTHER EARTH NEWS NO. 95.   

The tree squirrel field guide gives you information to correctly indentify many of the common tree squirrels found in the United States. 

A Field Guide to Tree Squirrels

Among both hunters and amateur naturalists, the squirrels (family Sciuridae) make up one of the most popular groups of wild creatures on this continent. Tree squirrels are highly adaptable, and most species have proven able to survive, and even thrive, in areas where human destruction of habitat has long since eliminated less opportunistic mammals. They can be seen dancing limb to limb in city parks and on wilderness hillsides from coast to coast, and — being a very diverse bunch — include not only the tree squirrels, but also such seemingly dissimilar animals as chipmunks, woodchucks (or groundhogs), flying squirrels, prairie dogs, marmots, and ground squirrels.

Still, to most of us, squirrels means one of the bushy-tailed tree dwellers. (In fact, the family name translates as "shade tail.") These are the tree squirrels most commonly admired by students of nature and most often transformed into tasty meals by hunters.

Whether your chosen activity is observation or pursuit, your success and satisfaction will be increased if you take the time to learn about your quarry. So, to add to the fun you'll find in squirrel watching or hunting, we've prepared the following guide to the more common tree squirrels of North America. (See the full illustration list of tree squirrels and United States squirrel habitat map in the image gallery).

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