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Fox squirrels are slightly larger and more reddish than gray squirrels, with an orange rather than whitish fringe on tail. It can be distinguished from other Kansas members of its family tawny brown to reddish-orange upperparts which are grizzled with gray, pale rufous or orange underparts, prominent ears colored ochraceous inside, and tufts behind the ears being fulvous rather than white as in the gray squirrel. Young are paler than adults, which are alike in both summer and winter.
The fox squirrel, and tree squirrels in general, differ from ground squirrels in lacking cheek pouches, and in possessing longer and bushier tails. Adults may attain the following dimensions; total length 460-700 mm; tail 180-330 mm; hind foot 51-82 mm; ear 24-32 mm; weight 510-1360 grams.
Tree squirrels sometimes become pests in urban areas. They may eat pecans, fruits, berries, bird seed or vegetables in home gardens, or may nest in attics.Sounds of running or gnawing coming from the attic during the day often indicate the presence of squirrels whereas running, squealing and gnawing sounds at night generally indicate the presence of rats or raccoons. Squirrels can cause extensive damage to the insulation in the attic or walls, and also may gnaw and damage electrical wiring. During winter, tree squirrels may damage trees and other ornamental plants by eating the bark off the limbs.
Food and Feeding Habits:Nuts of all kinds including black walnuts, acorns, and hickory nuts are the principal food of the fox squirrel, especially in the season of nut production. Wild fruit, buds and inner bark of trees and shrubs, mushrooms, seeds, green shoots, insects, and some small vertebrates are also eaten. Winter survival of squirrels is greatly affected by the size of the Fall mast.
Trapping:Cage traps can be used to reduce local squirrel populations or to remove individual squirrels from an attic. Effective baits include fruit, peanut butter, nuts, seeds and vanilla extract. Cage traps are available from hardware or feed stores.
Chemicals:At present there are no toxicants or fumigants registered for use against tree squirrels in Indiana. Registered commercial repellents are available.
Shooting:It is not advisable to shoot squirrels in urban areas because of the danger to other animals and people. Also, most cities have ordinances against discharging firearms within the city limits.
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