Fox Squirrels Numbers Declining

By  | January 7, 2021 | Filed under: News

MONTGOMERY-Over the last few decades, the fox squirrel has been declining due to habitat fragmentation and alteration. Fox squirrels are a large squirrel, with a mostly reddish-brown coat, black head and white nose, but black and silver color phases are also seen in Alabama. These squirrels can be found throughout the state but are more commonly observed in the Tennessee Valley region in North Alabama. Fox squirrels tend to have more specific habitat requirements than their more commonly known cousin, the gray squirrel. Fox squirrels prefer more open forest types with well-managed ground cover. They do well in both upland and bottomland forests if mature timber is present with clean and open understory. The Fox squirrel are also quite common in areas along the edges of large forests and open fields. Open fields of cattle farms, where the surrounding woods are relatively open and dominated by oak/hickory also provide good habitat for fox squirrels.

Fox squirrel populations seem to be more sensitive to habitat changes than gray squirrels. Maintaining an open understory in upland mixed pine/hardwood forests through frequent fire intervals is a good management practice to promote fox squirrel habitat. Cavity trees that provide hollow escapes for cover and nesting are also important. Feeding and food gathering generally takes place in areas where understory vegetation and young hardwood encroachment are minimal.

Due to their large size and calm demeanor fox squirrels are easy to locate if present. Keep your eyes open as you travel the state, and maybe you too, can see one of the often-forgotten fox squirrels of Alabama.

More about Fox Squirrels HERE

Media Release/Outdoor Alabama 

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