Gray squirrels

  • Article by: JIM GILBERT
  • Updated: December 15, 2011 - 11:10 PM
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A squirrel tackled a walnut while preparing for winter at Hyland Lake Park Reserve

Photo: Jeff Wheeler, Jm - Star Tribune

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Gray squirrels

The grays are the squirrels of the hardwood deciduous forests. The eastern gray squirrel, with its long, bushy tail and general gray coloration, is the species seen in Minnesota. It is most common in the south but can also inhabit the mixed coniferous/deciduous forests in the northern part of the state. From extreme southern Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, its range covers most of the eastern half of the United States.

Gray squirrels are 18 to 20 inches long, including the tail, and weigh about 1 pound. In winter the soft gray fur grows long and dense.

Acorns, hickory nuts, walnuts and butternuts supply much of the gray squirrels' diet from late summer to the following spring. Wild berries and other fruits are also eaten. Bark and twigs can often keep squirrels alive when food stores run out in winter. Even better would be sunflower seeds or corn from some kind person's feeding station.

JIM GILBERT

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