The common tree squirrel in our area is the eastern gray squirrel. And yes, there is a western gray squirrel. It occupies parts of the western states of Washington, Oregon, and California. The eastern gray lives in the central and eastern states, wherever there are trees. Besides the two already mentioned, there are tassel-eared squirrels of the southwest and various forms of fox squirrels, mainly in the east but also in some of the western states. And there are the tiny red squirrels of the northern states and mountain areas.
But right here in central North Carolina, it’s the eastern gray squirrel that you see scampering around the trees, running across the roads-then back, and pilfering your bird feeders. We have many here at the museum. You can see them just about everywhere, and some, as you might imagine, are quite tame.
At this time of year food in the form of seeds and nuts is at its peak. You can often see our squirrels huddled up on a branch, close to the trunk of a tree, munching away. You can sometimes actually hear the rasping sound of their gnawing at a hickory nut or walnut above you. Sometimes though, they sit on those limbs and chuck, squawk, and whine at other squirrels, we humans below, a hawk or owl, or some other potential nearby threat. They seem to be always busy, but not too busy to sit on a limb and chatter.
Keep an eye out for our squirrels as you make your way around the outdoor loop (it’d be tough to miss them). Stop and watch one for a while. They can be very entertaining. With the current cool autumn temps it’s a pleasure to be outside, so why not spend some time watching the squirrels.
It seems all of these squirrels, except the last photo, has somethings in its paw.
And finally, one of my favorites…
No, the red squirrel was not photographed here at the museum. They do, however, range into the North Carolina mountains. No, this red squirrel was captured on a crisp October day in far northern Wisconsin.