3 Types of Squirrels That Live in Florida! (2024)

What types of squirrels can you find in Florida?

common squirrels in florida

I have found squirrels cause a range of emotions. Some individuals find them adorable and love watching their crazy antics!

But many people can’t stand having squirrels around, particularly on their bird feeders! These feeding enthusiasts are constantly battling these acrobatic rodents to keep them on the ground and away from their bird food.

Regardless of your personal feelings, I think squirrels are interesting to learn about. If you are curious about all the species that can be found near you, please keep reading. 🙂

3 types of squirrels in Florida!

#1. Eastern Gray Squirrel

types of squirrels in florida

Scientific Name: Sciurus carolinensis

Average Length (Including tail): 16.6 – 21.6 inches / 42 – 55 cm

Weight: 14 – 21 oz / 400 – 600 grams

Lifespan: Adults typically live to be about 6 years old. Some lucky individuals can live up to 12 years in the wild, assuming they are not eaten by a hawk, owl, bobcat, fox, weasel, feral cat, snake, or human.

The Eastern Gray Squirrel is common in Florida, and one of the squirrels that people do battle with the most at their backyard bird feeders!

Eastern Gray Squirrel Range Map

gray squirrel range map

These rodents eat a variety of foods, but naturally, their favorites are definitely nuts, such as acorns, walnuts, and hazelnuts. As winter approaches, Eastern Gray Squirrels start hiding food in many locations, which provides them nutrition through the colder months. They hide more food than they will ever find again, and some of these extra seeds will eventually grow into new trees. Who knew that squirrels could play such an important role in seed dispersal?

Many people have thrown up their hands in defeat as they try to stop these acrobatic mammals from taking over the bird feeders in their backyard. Eastern Gray Squirrels LOVE birdseed and are relentless when they know an easy meal awaits inside a feeder. Their favorite foods include sunflower seeds, peanuts, and corn.

species of squirrels in florida

In the wild, these squirrels are found in large, dense deciduous forests full of mature trees (oaks, hickories) that produce lots of nuts! But these adaptable critters are equally comfortable living in suburban and urban neighborhoods, parks, and farms!

While this squirrel is native to Florida, they are actually an invasive species in other parts of the country and world. Eastern Gray Squirrels are especially problematic in many parts of Europe because they outcompete and displace their native squirrels, such as the incredibly cute Eurasian Red Squirrel.

Some gray squirrels are black!

Yes, I realize that it’s a bit strange that some Eastern Gray Squirrels have black fur, but it’s true! These black squirrels appear as a morph, and genetically speaking, it’s believed to result from a faulty pigment gene. No one is really sure why the black morph evolved, but several theories have been offered. Some scientists think it may be a selective advantage for squirrels that inhabit the northern ranges to help them absorb heat since the color of black conducts heat best.

YouTube video

Regardless of the reason, seeing a black squirrel is incredibly awesome! I am lucky enough to see them almost daily in my backyard, hanging out with their gray counterparts.

#2. Fox Squirrel

fox squirrel

Scientific Name: Sciurus niger

Average Length (Including tail): 17.7 – 27.6 inches / 45 – 70 cm

Weight: 1.1 – 2.2 pounds / 500 – 1000 grams

Lifespan: Captive Fox Squirrels have been known to live up to 18 years. In the wild, their maximum lifespan is 12.6 years for females and 8.6 years for males. However, individuals rarely live that long due to overhunting, disease from mange mites, severe winter weather, or predation from foxes, coyotes, and birds of prey.

Fox Squirrels are the largest tree squirrel in Florida.

Fox Squirrel Range Map

fox squirrel range map

These squirrels can adapt to many different habitats. They are most often found in small patches of deciduous forests that include trees that produce their favorite foods, which are acorns, walnuts, pecans, and hickory nuts. To prepare for winter, they hide caches of these nuts all over the place to be eaten later when the weather turns cold.

Fox Squirrels seem to thrive around people.

common fox squirrels

You will likely see Fox Squirrels foraging on the ground, as they spend much of their time there. But don’t let this fact fool you, since they are still skilled climbers. In addition to scaling trees, they will easily climb a bird feeder pole to get access to birdseed. 🙂

Most Fox Squirrels follow the same coloration, which is a grayish-brown fur coat with orange hair on their belly and on the edge of their tail. But these squirrels have highly variable colorations, depending on location. For example, the Delmarva Fox Squirrel, which is native to several states in the east, is gray on top with a white belly, whitish feet, and a gray tail with white frosting. In the southeast, a subspecies called Sherman’s Fox Squirrels are found with black heads that contrast with a white nose and ears, along with fur coats that range in color from gray to black.

Fox Squirrels are incredible jumpers!

YouTube video

WATCH squirrels jumping about 10 feet to my bird feeders!

They can leap up to 15 feet horizontally. If you don’t want these squirrels on your bird feeders, then you need to remember this fact. Place your feeding station away from places that squirrels can use as a launchpad, such as trees, fences, and structures. On a side note, the squirrels in the video above are Eastern Gray Squirrels, NOT Fox Squirrels. Regardless, I thought it demonstrated my point that these athletic rodents can jump REALLY FAR!

Flying Squirrels

When I first heard about flying squirrels, I didn’t believe the person describing them to me.

common types of flying squirrels

You see, I am outside a lot and take pride in trying to know and identify as much local wildlife as possible. So when I was told that there are small squirrels that glide from tree to tree at night and are rarely ever seen, I was a bit skeptical.

But after some research, I was amazed to learn about flying squirrels!

In fact, these unique mammals are more common than most people realize. But since these squirrels are small, nocturnal, and live at the tops of trees, they are RARELY seen. Even now that I know they exist, I still have never actually seen one in person.

Do flying squirrels actually fly?

YouTube video

Let’s clear up the most commonly asked question about flying squirrels. While the name implies otherwise, these creatures don’t have wings, nor can they fly. What they do have are folds of skin underneath their arms, called a patagium, which extends from their wrists all the way to their ankles.

This membrane allows these squirrels to “glide” from tree to tree. So their gliding can give that impression that they are flying.

In Florida, there is only ONE flying squirrel species you can observe:

#3. Southern Flying Squirrel

southern flying squirrel

Scientific Name: Glaucomys volans

Average Length (Including tail): 8.3 – 10.2 inches / 21 – 26 cm

Weight: 2- 3 oz / 56 – 85 grams

Lifespan: On average, they live just a few years, and it’s rare for an individual to see the age of five. Predators include owls, hawks, snakes, bobcats, raccoons, foxes, and domestic cats.

If you ever see one during daylight, you will get to observe fur that is reddish-brown or gray, while its belly is cream white. Large, black eyes take up much of their head, which is needed to help them see at night. Southern Flying Squirrels are a bit smaller than their cousins, Northern Flying Squirrels.

Range Map – Southern Flying Squirrel

southern flying squirrel range map

Southern Flying Squirrels are common in Florida.

But even though they are common, almost nobody knows they exist or sees them! Like other flying squirrels, this species is nocturnal and spends most of its time in the canopies of deciduous forests.

Southern Flying Squirrels often visit bird feeders at night, feeding on sunflower seeds and peanuts. Luckily, I have a camera that watches my bird feeding station, and it has incredible night vision! Check out the video below to see one come down from the trees and stay for dinner. 🙂

YouTube video

If you want to watch more LIVE bird feeder cameras, check out this post -> 8 LIVE Bird Feeder Cams From Around the World!

These squirrels are extremely social and are often observed foraging, gliding, and resting together in large groups. In winter, groups of up to 20 animals come together in one nest to conserve energy and stay warm.

Which of these squirrels have you seen before in Florida?

Leave a comment below!

Learn more about other animals found in Florida HERE:

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  1. YAAY!!! Happy I found this article. I have had a squirrel popping up on my feeder camera the past few nights. I didn’t think squirrels are nocturnal so I had to research!! So excited to find out it’s a Southern Flying Squirrel. Thank you for this information!!!

  2. We have a little friend who visits daily. I left a bowl of walnuts on the ground on my back porch. I’m not sure what kind of squirrel, but it drives my German shepherd crazy! The squirrel doesn’t seem to bothered by my dog, very cute.

  3. Several years ago I walked my dog in the front of our house. Normally she is walked in the back yard. It was around Halloween because I had decorated one area in the front yard with skeletons and pumpkins. All of a sudden I saw, what at first I believed to be bats but were actually flying squirrels in my neighbor’s yard, flying from tree to tree. I had never seen squirrels like this before. It was truly fascinating (and a little spooky at first). I have not seen them since.

    1. We have WHITE Squirrels in our neighborhood! I believe they are part of the Gray Squirrels family. We are in Lake County Florida. Just today I found out we also have the Flying Squirrels in the neighborhood also!

  4. I set up trail camera to photo our bird feeder. To my surprise at night and early morning we get flying squirrels attacking bird feeders! Apparently their light weight allows them to feed on bird feeder without the spring loaded feeder dropping down as it does with regular grey squirrels!! Now we know why feeders empty so fast!!! Any ideas on how to keep these little critters off bird feeders?

  5. A single color medium to dark brown squirrel just very, very aggressively chased a Southern gray squirrel. Southern gray squirrels are what are typically around my bird feeder. It was the same size as the gray ones, but chunkier or “beefier”. It’s fur seemed thicker as did its tail. It did halt when I sharply shouted, “No!”. I thought it was going to tear the slimmer gray squirrel to pieces. The gray squirrel ran nearer to me and hid behind a tree. He was breathing heavily. I shook my finger a the brown squirrel and said, “Go away!” It actually did. The gray squirrel drank some water from the bird bath, then rested on a branch. I’ve had the gray squirrels for 15 years in my backyard and have never seen this brown squirrel. I live on a wetland in Wesley Chapel, Florida (suburb of Tampa). I cannot find that solidly brown squirrel online anywhere. Any information?

  6. We have 3 bird (ha!) feeders in my yard, which are constantly populated by squirrels. They are incredible jumpers, and very smart. We also have several species of birds TRYING to eat the bird seed. One way to get the squirrels distracted is to put some tiny pieces of bread with peanut butter on them, out for the squirrels.

  7. I love in Osceola County Florida. We have solid black squirrels on one side of the county, and solid white squirrels on the other side, and gray all over. It’s strange. They’re fairly common too.

  8. Did you know that in Osceola County Florida, we have black squirrels on one side of the county (St. Cloud) and white squirrels on the other side (towards Campbell city)and of course the grey squirrels all over? I’ve always found it fascinating.