Arizona Gray Squirrel

Would you like to learn about an Arizona Gray squirrel without travelling to Arizona?

This squirrel is a tree squirrel. He may find his way onto the endangered list, so it is important to learn more about him.

Where they are found

The Arizona gray squirrel lives in the forest canyons and valleys of Eastern Arizona and Northern New Mexico.

He likes to be around deciduous trees that grow in these areas.

What do they look like?

This squirrel has gray fur with a white or cream belly. His ears are long, but not tufted.

The Arizona Gray squirrel has a bushy, tail with white edges. He has white around his eyes and a red or black stripe along the back of his tail.

The Arizona gray squirrel is about 16 – 21” long.

Where they live and what they eat

The Arizona gray squirrel’s favorite foods are walnuts, berries, pine cone seeds, and acorns.

He likes fungi and juniper berries.

When he collects pine cones he takes them to the bottom of his tree to take out the seeds. Sometimes he will eat insects.

The Arizona gray squirrel lives in trees. He builds a nest from leaves in the trees.

Family life

Breeding season is a very busy time for the Arizona gray squirrel. The season for mating is between April and May. At this time males have to chase the females to catch them and claim a mate. There is a great deal of running around.

The breeding season takes place at the same time as the spring flowers blossom. The Arizona gray squirrel eats flowers to give him extra energy.

Not all the females will fall pregnant. The mating depends on how much food is around. The pregnant females have two to four babies.

Characteristics

The Arizona gray squirrel is a shy squirrel. He runs along the ground or jumps among the branches of the trees. He does not like to draw attention to himself.

The Arizona gray squirrel only makes a few sounds. He will make a barking or chucking sound. This is a warning to other squirrels.

The Arizona gray squirrel’s tail is a very important part of his body.

He uses his tail for balance when he is jumping through the trees. His bushy tail can keep him warm and he can use it to confuse predators.

Predators and dangers

The biggest threat for the Arizona gray squirrel is the destruction of his environment. Chopping down trees and climate change are affecting his living area.

He is very dependent on food for extra energy for his mating performance. Forest fires destroy his home too.

The Arizona gray squirrel is challenged by the invasion of his space by the Abert tree squirrel.

This squirrel is a much stronger squirrel and threatens to take over the small amount of living space where Arizona gray squirrels live.

The Arizona gray squirrel is fearful of the spotted skunk, but the threats of losing his natural environment are his greatest danger.

Contribution to nature.

The Arizona gray squirrel helps to spread seeds from pine cones.

Looking for fungi means he will encourage spores from the fungi to fly into the air and be spread under the trees.

Facts about Arizona Gray Squirrel

  • When the squirrel does not want to be noticed he stands upright and keeps very still.
  • The Arizona gray squirrel may become endangered.
  • His breeding activity is known as a mating chase. Sometimes one female can be chased by nine males.
  • Acorns provide the most energy for these squirrels. Walnuts add fat to their diet.
  • There are other squirrels with gray in their name. An Eastern gray squirrel and the Western gray squirrel. Many squirrels are gray in color.
  • The I.U.C.N. (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has put the Arizona gray squirrel on its ‘near threatened’ list.

New vocabulary.

Deciduous: Trees that loose their leaves every year in autumn.

Juniper berries: The juniper bush is a member of the coniferous family and its little cones become berries. They turn from green to purple when they are ripe.

Spores: They are single cells of a plant that can reproduce and grow.

What did you Learn?

Why is the Arizona gray squirrel’s tail so important.

The Arizona gray squirrel’s tail is used for balance while he runs along tree branches. His tail keeps him warm and he can use it to confuse predators.

What clever trick can this squirrel do to try and not be noticed?

He can stand on his back legs and keep very still like a statue.

Why does the Arizona gray squirrel need so much energy in spring?

The squirrels have to use energy in a very active mating chase

This squirrel is nearly on the endangered list. What is the biggest challenge he faces?

The biggest challenge is loosing the natural area he lives in.

What do the letters I.U.C.N stand for?

I.U.C.N. stands for International Union for Conservation of Nature.