The eastern gray squirrel is the most common and frequently observed of North Carolina’s five tree squirrel species. The gray squirrel is found in every county and was adopted as the state mammal in 1969. Gray squirrels are enjoyed by wildlife-watchers and hunters alike, but they can be a nuisance when they cause property damage.
The fox squirrel is the largest tree squirrel in North Carolina, nearly twice the size of the more common gray squirrel. It lives primarily in mature longleaf pine and open pine-oak forests in the Sandhills and southern Coastal Plain.
This squirrel is federally listed as endangered. It inhabits North Carolina’s high elevation forests and forages in the spruce-fir-hemlock forests, eating largely lichen and fungi. It dens in both live and dead hardwood trees and their nests use exclusively yellow birch bark as either the nest or at least for the nest lining.