The Sherman’s fox squirrel is one of four subspecies of the fox squirrel in Florida. They live in open pinewoods and scattered oak trees and are often seen in the Pine Ridge area.
Florida’s largest squirrel, the fox squirrel grows to 25 inches long, including a 12-inch tail. Named after the fox due to its unique fox-like run and long, bushy tail. They have highly variable dorsal fur color ranging from black to silver. Underside is tan, head is generally black, ears and muzzle are often white. Weighing in at two to three pounds, these bushy-tailed beauties are up to three times heavier than grey squirrels and about 10 inches longer. Their strong hind legs allow them to leap longer distances, and they spend more time on the ground than their tree-loving cousins.
Longleaf pine cones and seeds provide their man food sources, but they also eat fungi, fruit, flower buds and acorns. They build their nests in oak trees, lining the structures with leaves and moss.
Sherman’s fox squirrels reproduce in late winter and mid-summer with a litter of two to three offspring each time. Scientists estimate that more than 80 percent of the species’ native territory is gone due to development of land for commercial, agricultural or residential use.
Because of their diminished habitat, the Sherman’s fox squirrel has been designated as a species of special concern and hunting or trapping of them is prohibited by state and federal law.