is this a giant squirrel?

fagopher(zone 5)April 29, 2008

Hi All,

I was outside and found this animal... It looked very much like a squirrel but it was really big.. .I took some pictures but it was in a tall pine tree, so not very good ones..

Anyway:

Thanks in advance for your time

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the_musicman(z9 FL)

Certainly a rather large squirrel, yes.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2008 at 9:22PM
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saintpfla

Yes - Squirrel on Steroids...

    Bookmark   April 29, 2008 at 9:33PM
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cycadjungle(z9b Cent FL)

I can pretty much tell by the yellow butt already, but did that squirrel have a black mask? If so, that is a Fox Squirrel.I couldn't get a good view of the face in those pictures. They ARE a lot bigger, and you don't see that many of them any more. They even move differently. If you sw it while it was still on the ground you would see it hop along flowing up and down with that long yellow and black tail fluttering like a dear tail when they run.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2008 at 9:46PM
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gcmastiffs(z10 Florida)

Where are you located? It may be, as cycadjungle indicated, a Sherman's Fox Squirrel. We saw a group of them this weekend in Indiantown. They are very ugly! My husband jammed on the brakes of his truck and said "what the H*** is that???

They look like very large, scruffy, longish-haired Monkey-faced Squirrels. Masks on the faces, markings can be dark or white. Colors range from tan to black. They move more slowly than Grey Squirrels, and are on the ground more.

Not at all cute.

Lisa

    Bookmark   April 29, 2008 at 10:09PM
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ladyaustin96(z9NPR, FL)

Definitely not as cute as my lil squirrels living in my trees....LOL Sorry!!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2008 at 10:50PM
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manature(9B Sanford, FL)

OMG, I think Sherman's fox squirrels are just incredibly beautiful! I love their black masks, when they have them, but they are variable in color. I've seen red ones, silvery ones and grey with the black mask. They are so much larger than our "regular" grey squirrels that they "lope" instead of scamper. On the ground, they move more like an otter.

I was thrilled to find one living at our local golf course, and enjoyed seeing him every time I drove by, but he disappeared a year or so ago, and I haven't seen him since.

To me, they are fantastic and so pretty! Lisa, maybe the ones you saw weren't healthy. They are considered really beautiful by most folks I know. And yes, they are becoming very scarce in most of Florida, so if you have them in your area, you are quite lucky.

Here are a couple pics for you to compare:

Marcia

    Bookmark   April 29, 2008 at 10:59PM
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auntiejan(9b-Melbourne)

Looks like a Fox Squirrel to me too! They disappeared from my area when land clearing began for big fancy development nearby. They are magnificent animals!

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 1:52AM
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wildworldwoman(9 ORLANDO)

Another sad testament to human encroachment. I can remember seeing plenty of fox squirrels many years ago in the outskirts of Orlando, especially where there were plentiful pine trees. But I haven't seen one since I can't remember when. So beautiful! It's a delight to know that there are still pockets of populations here and there in Florida.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 3:26AM
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tomncath(St Pete Z10a Heat 10)

I agree with manature and wildworldwoman...beautiful animals, and unfortunately, disappearing rapidly with the loss of habitat.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 6:03AM
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solstice98(9b/Orlando)

I think we had one in our neighborhood up until a couple years ago, but he was struck by a car. I was so sad to lose him because I loved the way he moved. He was so distinctive and had markings kind of like a Husky dog. Very large too. I was always sure he was a fox squirrel but now that I've looked at your pictures I'm not as certain. He had slightly tufted ears. Or maybe they were just more pointy than the ones in the photos.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 8:19AM
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yogacathy

I have not seen one before, but how amazing! I'm so sad to hear they are disappearing.

Cathy

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 8:47AM
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julieyankfan(z9FL Pasco Cty.)

I was saying to my neighbor how a northern squirrel could kick butt against a FLA squirrel and he told me about the fox squirrels. I thought he was pulling my leg! Thanks for the pics!

Julie

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 9:02AM
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junkyardgirl

I love fox squirrels! I don't have them here, but I did in SC, and watching them bounce around the yard was so funny!

I think this time of year, they're scruffy because they're losing their winter fur.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 9:04AM
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gcmastiffs(z10 Florida)

The ones we saw were on a large game preserve. They must have been ill, or shedding, since their long coats looked very rough, patchy and moth-eaten. They did not look handsome like the ones pictured above. Good to know that some of them are attractive(G).

Lisa

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 9:13AM
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manature(9B Sanford, FL)

Solstice, if it was definitely a squirrel and it was lots bigger than the grey squirrel, it was almost surely a fox squirrel. They are the only native Florida squirrel besides the grey squirrel and the tiny, nocturnal flying squirrel. They are extremely variable in color and markings, though, and I have seen them with their winter coats that showed tufts on their ears.

If I could have fox squirrels in my yard, I would put out feeders just for them. I would do just about ANYTHING to enjoy the sight of them, loping around, with that LONG, LONG tail trailing behind them. The tail is as nearly as long as a grey squirrel all by itself.

Here are a couple more photos just to show you the variation in color.

And here is a link with loads of interesting info on them. I was really surprised at their dietary habits!

Fagopher, you sure have some interesting creatures and plants around your house! What a great introduction to Florida living!

Marcia

Here is a link that might be useful: Fox Squirrel Info

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 9:56AM
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manature(9B Sanford, FL)

The Sherman's fox squirrel is currently listed as a species of special concern, since loss of habitat is taking a terrible toll on them. I know the one on our local golf course was the first one I had seen in years and years.

Marcia

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 9:57AM
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beachlily z9a

Marcia, the funniest thing about that last picture was the can of Diamond walnuts! I giggled. Now I have to go back to making Italian bread. Thanks for the break! I would even like one of these big guys in my garden, but they might become addicted to daylily buds. I have too!

P.S. No pines here on the island, but gobs of cabbage palms and sand oaks plus live oaks.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 11:52AM
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treefrog_fl(z10 FL)

Sad to hear they're disappearing, along with so many other wonderful fauna and flora.
I've never seen one.
BTW, How do they taste? Any better 'n bald eagle? :)

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 12:23PM
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manature(9B Sanford, FL)

Treefrog...picture a stew made with day-old roadkill bald eagle, and I'd say you've got it!

*snort*

Marcia

(NOOOO, folks...I've never eaten EITHER of those, so don't get upset!)

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 12:38PM
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treefrog_fl(z10 FL)

Me either!

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 1:14PM
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cycadjungle(z9b Cent FL)

We still have a few fox squirrels down the road a little, but only a few as compared to about a dozen just 10 years ago. Ours are more of the yellow with a little black on top. The ones we have are beautiful. Some of my favorite locals, along with split tail kites and sand hill cranes. A mile from my place there is a 20 acre tract where a pair of SHCs have two fuzzy orange babies right now. They will stay there all season and we get to see them almost every day.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 2:40PM
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solstice98(9b/Orlando)

Thanks for the extra pictures! Mine looked like the 2nd picture - the cute gray guy - but with darker ears and a buff colored tummy. Very handsome.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 3:17PM
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palmcityfl

I just saw a fox squirrel this weekend in Palm City, in western Martin County. Never saw one before, coming from Broward County. My first reaction was "a squirrel with the face of a monkey? Can't be!" You just solved the mystery.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 8:46PM
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fagopher(zone 5)

Thanks for all your responses. My wife and I had the same reaction as palmcityfl, it looked like a "squirrel with the face of a monkey"

Fabio

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 8:59PM
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