Name: Lois M
We have several different species of squirrels living in
our small town neighborhood. It appears we have a female nesting in our
tree in the back yard. Having read several articles on-line concerning
the Red Squirrel and The Gray Squirrel, I cannot find any information
concerning their interbreeding. Our squirrels have definitely interbred.
We have many with red and gray markings and even black ones too! Is
this a common occurrence or am I mistaken? Our Red Squirrels appear also
to be larger than their gray counterparts which is totally opposite of
what I have read.
A "red" squirrel that is larger than a grey squirrel is almost certainly a
fox squirrel. Fox squirrels "vary greatly in color, even within one
locality, but the prevailing color in Missouri is reddish yellow mixed with
gray on the back and sides..." (Schwartz, the Wild Mammals of Missouri).
Black squirrels are a fairly common melanistic color phase of eastern gray
squirrels. I have never heard of fox and gray squirrels interbreeding.
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Update: June 2012