Squirrels are a common sight in many parts of the United States, and Texas is no exception. Texas has a variety of habitats, ranging from forests to urban areas, that are home to several different species of squirrels.
These species include:
- Grey Squirrels
- Fox Squirrels
- Red Squirrels
- Flying Squirrels
- Ground Squirrels
Let’s dive in and explore the different types of squirrels that call Texas home.
Texas Has Grey Squirrels
One of the most well-known types of squirrels in Texas is the grey squirrel. Grey squirrels are medium-sized squirrels with distinctive bushy tails and grey fur.
Grey squirrels live in a variety of habitats across the state and are known for their agility and clever problem-solving skills. Even though they are cute, grey squirrels can be a nuisance when they invade gardens and bird feeders.
Grey squirrels are an important role in the ecosystem as some of the nuts they bury for winter sprout and grow into new trees.
These squirrels are common in urban areas and are found in parks, gardens, and residential areas. Grey squirrels are adaptable animals and can thrive in a variety of environments, so they are widespread across Texas.
Texas Has Fox Squirrels
Fox squirrels are another type of squirrel found in Texas.
Fox squirrels are larger than grey squirrels and have reddish-brown fur. The territory of fox squirrels and grey squirrels commonly overlap.
Fox and grey squirrels share characteristics with fox squirrels being more territorial.
Red Squirrels Exist in Texas But Are Not Common
Red squirrels are also found in Texas, although they are not as common as grey and fox squirrels.
Red squirrels have reddish-brown fur similar to fox squirrels. Despite the similar colorations it is easy to distinguish the two species as red squirrels are much smaller than fox squirrels.
Red squirrels display active and energetic behavior, and are often seen darting around trees and gathering food. Red squirrels love pine seeds and will create large food caches called middens.
Red squirrels are highly protective of their middens and will aggressively defend their territory.
Red squirrels can be found in the East Texas Piney Woods, the Hill Country, and the Trans-Pecos region. Red squirrels are not as common as other types of squirrels in Texas, and they may be more difficult to spot.
There are Flying Squirrels in Texas
Flying squirrels are found in Texas, although they are not as well-known as other types of squirrels.
Flying squirrels are small and they are named for their ability to glide through the air using a membrane called a patagium.
Flying squirrels live in forests throughout the state, and are nocturnal animals. They are known for their quiet and secretive nature, and they are rarely seen by humans.
Flying squirrels are in forests across the state, including the East Texas Piney Woods, the Hill Country, and the Trans-Pecos region.
Because flying squirrels are nocturnal they may be more difficult to spot. However, with a bit of luck and patience, it is possible to see flying squirrels in these areas.
Texas Has Multiple Types of Ground Squirrels
The types of ground squirrels found in Texas include:
- Rock squirrels
- Striped ground squirrels
- California ground squirrels
California Ground Squirrels and Rock Squirrels look very similar. Both species are medium-sized with grey/brown fur and distinctive white spotting on their fur.
The easiest way of telling the two species apart is by where you spot them.
As the name implies, rock squirrels are typically found is rocky locations such as canyon walls, boulders and cliffs. Rock squirrels are found in the Chihuahuan Desert, the Trans-Pecos region, and the Edwards Plateau
California ground squirrels are usually found in areas with soft dirt which is easliy dug for their elaborate burrow systems. These squirrels are found in the East Texas Piney Woods, the Hill Country, and the Trans-Pecos region.
Striped ground squirrels are easily differentiated as they are quite small and have distinctive white body stripes. Striped ground squirrels are found in Edwards Plateau and the Cross Timbers region where they build extensive burrows.
Striped ground squirrels are active during the day and will often be seen basking in the sun or foraging for food.
Summary and Further Reading
Texas is home to a diverse array of squirrels, including grey squirrels, fox squirrels, red squirrels, flying squirrels, and various types of ground squirrels.
These squirrels are found in a variety of habitats across the state, including forests, woodlands, grasslands, and urban areas.
Each type of squirrel has its own unique characteristics, behaviors, and ecological role, and they all contribute to the rich diversity of Texas’ natural world.
You can find additional information about the different types of squirrels in Texas through the following sources:
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department: https://tpwd.texas.gov/
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension: https://agrilifeextension.tamu.edu/
Texas Invasives: http://www.texasinvasives.org/