Florida has two species of squirrels that are native and widespread. The most common is the Gray Squirrel – that varies from mostly gray to mostly brown with long white and black hairs mixed in, giving it a bushy tail. Gray Squirrels always have a white breast. These are the common backyard squirrels that dominate bird feeders and are seen on a daily basis. Gray Squirrels typically weigh a pound to a pound and a half and sometimes delight us as they leap from branch to branch and race along on utility wires. Gray Squirrels are very social and have a very small home range.
Southern Fox Squirrels on the other hand are very large, sometimes weighing three pounds or more. They are tree squirrels, but keep to the trunk and larger branches and feed primarily on the ground. Fox Squirrels are not nearly so social and a male moves over 170 acres or more in search of food and females. Females have an average home range of about 25 acres. Moving as much as they do, Fox Squirrels cross roads and are very vulnerable to being hit. As habitats are altered, they tend to move more and become more isolated – contributing to their continuing decline. The Big Cypress Fox Squirrel of southwest Florida is one of the most unique – and most threatened population of Fox Squirrels.