- Common Name:
- Scientific Name:
- Group Name:
- Scurry, dray
- Five to 36 inches
- 0.5 ounces to four pounds
Eastern gray squirrels forage for nuts, seeds, buds, and flowers of trees. Like other tree squirrels, the eastern gray squirrel plays an important role in what’s known as seed dispersal. As winter approaches, squirrels carry their food and bury it in several locations, but they sometimes forget exactly where. That helps the environment because these buried seeds and nuts sprout and grow the following spring.
Eastern gray squirrels have an excellent sense of smell, which they use to help locate food that they’ve hidden away. They can also pick up information about their fellow squirrels by smelling them.
They communicate with each other by making sounds and body movements, such as tail flicking. When predators such as red foxes and red-tailed hawks are nearby, eastern gray squirrels will sound warning calls to alert other squirrels.
Female eastern gray squirrels may start having babies at as young as five and a half months old. Females can have litters twice a year, each usually consisting of two to four babies. They gather leaves and twigs and build nests high in the trees to house their young offspring, or use tree cavities as dens.
Newborn eastern gray squirrels don’t have fur when they are born and are not able to see. They often weigh as little as half an ounce (14 grams). They leave the nest by around ten to twelve weeks old and they become fully grown by around nine months.