Common Squirrels Of Upstate New York

large gray squirrel in albany ny

Common Squirrel Identification

Squirrels, the most diverse family of mammals, are found all around the world, and certainly in our area of Upstate New York. These rodents, with ever-growing incisors, are perfectly adapted for cracking nuts and chewing on wood. They are easily identified by long, bushy tails, pointy ears, and cheek pouches, and by their 4-clawed toes on their fore feet and 5 on their hind feet. Did you know that squirrels will bite off the germinating end of a nut prior to burying it to prevent it from growing, or that they will call out loudly to warn other squirrels when a predator is near? Also, did you know that a groundhog (or woodchuck) is actually a ground squirrel? Read on to learn how to identify the different squirrels we have in Upstate New York.


These large ground squirrels, that are found all over our state, have a stubby, chunky body and fur that is a grizzled brown color. The tail, which is a bit darker than the rest, is smaller in proportion to other squirrels. A groundhog's eyes are large and black, and his ears, small and round. These critters can grow to be as long as 27 inches and weigh approximately 8 pounds.

Eastern Chipmunk

These are small squirrels, and the easiest to identify (except for the groundhog, perhaps). Chipmunks are a reddish-brown color with 5 distinct stripes that run down their back. Between these stripes are lighter colored stripes of white, brown, or gray. The underside of chipmunks is usually lighter in color than the rest of them, and their tails are dark and furry, though not as bushy as other squirrels. These creatures have relatively large cheek pouches that protrude quite noticeably when full.

Eastern Fox Squirrel

This medium-sized tree squirrel has grayish-brown fur above, and light brownish fur below. It's tail is large and bushy and about half the total length of his whole body. It can grow to be around 27 inches and weigh 28 ounces.

American Red Squirrel

The smallest of the tree squirrels, about 11-14 inches long, these critters have brownish-red to grayish-red fur on their backs and white or grayish-white on their bellies. Dark lines may be present to separate the reddish fur from the lighter fur. A red squirrel's tail is large and bushy, but not quite as large as other tree squirrels, and they have white outlines around their eyes.

Eastern Grey Squirrels

These cute little creatures are a cream color underneath with gray fur on top. Their head, feet, and tail may have a red tinge, and their tail is large and bushy. There are, however, completely black variations in some urban areas. They can grow to be around 20 inches in length and weigh about 19 ounces.

Northern Flying Squirrels

These gliding creatures have thick, cinnamon colored fur on their upper body, which becomes more grayish on the sides. The fur on their belly is white. From their front limbs to their ankles they sport a furry membrane which forms a wing-like apparatus when stretched out. This allows them to "fly" from tree to tree--though it is more of a glide. Their eyes are large, and their tails long and flat. These animals range in size from 11 to 14 inches and weigh around 4.5 ounces.

Southern Flying Squirrels

A southern flying squirrel is smaller than its "northern" counterpart and has a belly that is less gray. There also may be a dark band separating the darker fur on top and the lighter fur on its underbelly. These measure 8 to 10 inches and only weigh about 2.5 ounces.

Both Northern and Southern flying squirrels, unlike the other types of squirrels, are nocturnal. This means they are awake at night, and sleep during the day. For this reason, they are sometimes mistaken for mice when homeowners hear them rustling around inside their wall voids or attic spaces at night.

Call Thomas For Help Getting Rid Of Squirrels

If you hear noises inside your home and you can't tell what is causing them, it is a good idea to call a professional pest controller to find that out for you. Wild animals that have taken up residence in your home can be dangerous if cornered, are protecting young, or have the rabies virus.

The squirrels of our state are fascinating creatures, but they belong outside in nature, not inside our homes. If you need help removing pests from your home, Thomas Pest Services will be happy to help.


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