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gray squirrel

Fact File

Scientific Name: Sciurus carolinensis carolinensis

Classification: Mammalia, Order Rodentia, Family Sciuridae

Identifying Characteristics

This is a large squirrel weighing 16-18 ounces and having a total length of 12-21 inches. It has a bushy tail, moderate ears without tufts and a grayish to yellowish brown coat on the upper parts (though no hair is all gray, some tipped with white), white under and on the chin, abdomen, and ventral legs. The fur is longer in the winter. . They are distinguished from red squirrel by their larger size, gray color, white-bordered tail, and from the fox squirrel by their smaller size and white-edged tail. The females have 1 or 2 litters per year, averaging 2-3 young per litter.. The daily movement is mostly within about 200 yards. There is no hibernation but cold, rain, snowstorm and especially high winds cause this species to remain in the den for several days. They have many calls to communicate. The potential longevity in the wild is 6 years.


This subspecies of Gray Squirrel is common throughout the southeastern quarter of the state. They are found in extensive forests, but also city parks, and backyards. Large, relatively unbroken forest tracts are used.

Last updated: August 18, 2023

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