Did you know that there are more than 200 kinds of squirrels in the world? Some species are as small as five inches, while others can reach up to three feet long! They are one of the most diverse animals in the world.
If you live in the United States, you will be able to see up to 65 other types of squirrel species! Many nature lovers find themselves watching squirrels but are left wondering what kind of squirrel they’re looking at.
If you want to learn more about these delightful little creatures, read on for our complete guide to squirrels in the US!
Eastern Gray Squirrels
The Eastern Gray Squirrel is the most common squirrel in the United States, especially across the Eastern half of the nation. You can identify them by their gray color and white underbelly.
Some of these squirrels also have a dark black appearance. You’re more likely to see one of these black squirrel variants if you live in the Northeast, and scientists are still not quite sure why this trait evolved. Keep an eye out for this unique coloring!
Due to their habit of storing food for hibernation, they play an important role in spreading seeds. This makes them the best squirrel in the ecosystem!
If you want to support them in their mission, check out the Nature Niche squirrel feeder, which is great for watching squirrels. And, as an added bonus, it will distract them from your birdseed.
The Eastern Gray loves nuts and seeds, especially sunflower seeds, peanuts, and corn, so stock up!
Western Gray Squirrel
The Western Gray Squirrel is a counterpart to the Eastern Gray and has a spotty range across the Western states of Washington and California, down into Mexico.
They look very similar to the Eastern Gray, but you’ll be able to differentiate between the two based on your location. In addition, the Western Gray is much more timid and unlikely to venture into your yard for your birdseed.
American Red Squirrel
The second most common squirrel species in the US, the American Red Squirrel is widespread across the northern states and up into Canada. You’re more likely to see them in forests, as their favorite snack is pine seeds. Some American Reds have even been known to tap maple trees to drink the sweet syrup!
The American Red Squirrel is much smaller than its gray cousins. Unsurprisingly, their fur is a burnt reddish-orange color, and they have the same soft white underbelly as the Eastern Gray.
Despite their small size, these squirrels are feisty! If you’ve ever heard two squirrels chattering away at each other, they’re usually American Reds. With no sense of shyness and all the scrappiness that comes from being the underdog, these squirrels will make a real show of taking over your feeding station!
Fox Squirrels are the largest and most common tree squirrel in America, with a range of all the Eastern states. They’re spreading out to the Western states as well, as they can adapt to any environment.
Fox Squirrels are easily confused for American Red Squirrels, due to their similar coloring. However, the Fox Squirrel has an orange underbelly and a gray tint to its back. In addition, they’re much larger.
These squirrels can come in several different color patterns depending on your location. Some are predominantly gray with touches of white and a white face, and others have a black patch on their forehead.
They love foraging, but where they truly shine is climbing. Tree squirrels are skilled climbers and can easily scale any bird feeder, so if they’re in your neighborhood pick up a squirrel feeder to keep them away from your birdseed!
Abert’s Squirrel is relatively uncommon, with a patchy range across the Western States like Colorado, New Mexico, and down into Mexico.
They’re found primarily on Ponderosa Pines, where they spend most of their lives eating and hiding. In fact, they can eat up to 75 pinecones per day, and during the winter they’ll even eat twigs and bark!
Abert’s Squirrel is a crowd favorite due to the long tufts of fur on each ear. They have a dark coat with a white underbelly and a signature brown spot on its back.
The Douglas Squirrel occupies the area all along the West coast.
These squirrels change their coloring in winter and summer. In summer, the Douglas Squirrel is gray with notes of brown with an orange underbelly. In winter, they become grayer and less orange, and their ears grow a small tuft of fur.
These squirrels are easily identifiable by their noise. They are some of the loudest squirrels in the US, chittering away all day and arguing with each other over pinecones!
Northern Flying Squirrel
Flying squirrels love living in trees in the Northern half of the states. You’re unlikely to see one around your home unless you live near the forest, but it’s worth keeping an eye out!
The Northern Flying Squirrel is nocturnal, which explains their huge eyes. They provide them with night vision! They have light brown colored fur, with a white belly.
Southern Flying Squirrel
The southern flying squirrel is very similar to its Northern cousins, but its range is different. The Southern Flying Squirrel prefers the Eastern States.
Visually, the two are very similar, though the Southern kind is lighter and smaller.
The 65 species of squirrels in the US include several sub-tribes of the squirrel family. Although you might not think of them as squirrels, prairie dogs, marmots, and chipmunks are all types of squirrels!
There are four different species of prairie dog, five species of marmot, and a whopping 22 species of chipmunks! These are all considered ground squirrels, as they rarely climb and nest in underground burrows.
Experience the Different Types of Squirrel Species for Yourself
We could be here all day talking about all the tribes of the squirrel family. Instead, we’ll leave you with the tidbit that squirrels are a shockingly diverse animal, and with a squirrel feeder, you never know what delightful little creature will show up! Pick one up for yourself and experience the diversity of nature.
If you enjoyed learning about the different types of squirrel species, you’ll love our other content. Check out our blog for more!