Among the members of the Squirrel Family living in Missouri, you’ll most likely see Eastern gray and fox squirrels.
Making their homes in leafy nests in a cavity or fork of a tree, squirrels live in both urban and rural environments. Squirrels feed on a variety of plants, nuts, and fruits including acorns and buds of hickory, pecan, walnut, elm, and mulberry trees, as well as field corn.
Squirrels often mate twice per year, and after a 45-day pregnancy, females birth litters of one to eight young. This week in nature – whether a park, conservation area, or your own yard – squirrels are caring for hairless newborn with eyes and ears closed, and well-developed claws. Watch for these young squirrels to emerge from their nests in six to seven weeks.
The smaller, Eastern gray squirrel is more common in bottomlands, and the larger, reddish fox squirrel abounds along higher ridges. Squirrels furnish a large supply of meat each year for Missouri hunters, and offer opportunities, across the state, to observe wildlife close to home.
Discover Nature is sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation.