Critter of the Month: Eastern Gray Squirrel
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Most people have a love-hate relationship with squirrels. It’s fascinating to watch them jump from tree branch to tree branch, searching for any food in sight. At the same time, they can also be quite a nuisance to homeowners. Mississippi is home to two species of squirrels, but the Eastern gray squirrel is the most numerous. An easy way to identify this squirrel is by its white belly and bushy tail. Eastern gray squirrels are generally gray but can also have red or brown fur.
Squirrels are abundant in a variety of different habitats. They generally prefer forests but can also be found in urban and suburban neighborhoods. If there is a wooded area, there are most likely squirrels around.
Gray squirrels are active little critters. You may notice them running around in your yard around sunrise and sunset each day. Even squirrels try to avoid the Mississippi heat! They generally reproduce during early spring and summer. Litters can have anywhere from one to eight young!
Eastern gray squirrels mainly feed on nuts and acorns but also snack on plants, seeds, and insects. They generally stay close to the trees where their young are but occasionally take up residence in attics and exterior walls of homes. This can be quite the headache for homeowners, potentially causing damage and making noise. Reach out to your local Extension office or the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks for information on steps to reduce squirrel problems in or around your home or in the case they are already causing issues mitigating the damage or having them professionally removed.
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