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What can you tell me about the black and white squirrels I see around Wilmington?

Amy Hotz
Fox squirrel

Fox squirrels are native to Southeastern North Carolina, but aren't as common as gray squirrels. (Submitted photo by Scott Hartley, park superintendent at Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve)

Those are fox squirrels.

According to Robbie Norville, a supervising wildlife biologist with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, fox squirrels are native to this area but are more rare than the gray squirrels you often see in your backyard.

He said a fox squirrel is generally larger than a gray squirrel. They can reach up to three pounds, and they have a much longer tails.

Fox squirrels have several different “color phases,” which means they have different color schemes. Some are completely black. Some are black with gray noses and gray feet. Others look kind of like a gray squirrel, but will have red and/or orange-y shading in some areas.

Norville said he sees a lot of squirrels on golf courses for some reason. Originally, the animals lived in North Carolina’s long leaf pine forests. As long leaf pines became scarce, however, they’ve learned to adapt to mixed pine and hardwood areas. They still prefer to have some long leafs in their habitat, though.

They eat the same things gray squirrels do – a wide-ranging diet that includes various tree seeds and the soft wood under a tree’s bark.

Related links:

The October issue of “Wildlife in North Carolina” features a fox squirrel on the cover

Has there been any increase in squirrel population recently?

How can I get rid of the very prolific squirrels that ravage my backyard and torment the other wildlife?

What kind of wildlife can you see at local parks?

User-contributed question by:
Bill Stevens and Jennifer

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3 Responses to “ What can you tell me about the black and white squirrels I see around Wilmington?”

  1. On July 8, 2011 at 6:37 pm christopher cox wrote:

    I live in fayetteville north Carolina. Im 34trying and I’ve been here “growing up in the woods” all my life.today was the first time id ever seen this fox squirrel. It was on a golf course! Gates four to be exact. I wouldn’t have known what it was without your info so thanks.

  2. On March 27, 2014 at 3:04 pm leslie aloff wrote:

    have nice HD video of a fox squirrel

    some can be seen on my personal web site

    click featured item

    I have a lot of additional fox squirrel video not on the site…..the source video is captured at 60 FPS so single frames are very sharp if anyone can use or wants it I will be glad to provide it.

  3. On March 27, 2014 at 5:12 pm Si Cantwell wrote:

    Nice pix, thanks for the link.

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