Exploring Types of California Squirrels: A Guide to Identifying Native Species

California is home to a variety of squirrel species due to its diverse habitats. Here are some common types of squirrels found in California:

1. California Ground Squirrel (Otospermophilus beecheyi)

The California ground squirrel is a common species found throughout the state. They have a grayish-brown fur with lighter underparts and are known for their burrowing behavior. California ground squirrels inhabit open grasslands, meadows, and agricultural areas.

2. Eastern Fox Squirrel (Sciurus niger)

The Eastern fox squirrel, which is not native to California, has been introduced to some parts of the state. They have a reddish-brown coloration and can be larger than other squirrel species. Eastern fox squirrels can be found in urban and suburban areas, as well as in oak woodlands and riparian habitats.

3. Western Gray Squirrel (Sciurus griseus)

The Western gray squirrel is native to California and is found in the state’s forests, woodlands, and montane habitats. They have grayish-brown fur with a white underbelly and a bushy tail. Western gray squirrels are known for their arboreal lifestyle.

4. Douglas Squirrel (Tamiasciurus douglasii)

The Douglas squirrel, also known as the pine squirrel, is found in coniferous forests across California. They have reddish-brown fur with a white underbelly and distinctive ear tufts. Douglas squirrels are known for their energetic and vocal behavior.

5. Northern Flying Squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus)

The Northern flying squirrel is found in some parts of northern California, particularly in the state’s mountainous regions. They have a patagium that allows them to glide through the air. Northern flying squirrels primarily inhabit coniferous forests.

These are some of the common squirrel species found in California. Each species has its own habitat preferences and adaptations to the varied environments across the state. Squirrels play important ecological roles and contribute to the biodiversity of California’s ecosystems.