7 Types of Squirrels in Florida (with Pictures)

The Sunshine State is home to 7 species of squirrels, spread around the entire state. These little mammals spend their time in wooded areas, but there are some species that you can find in parks and urban areas.

They might be difficult to spot since they hide in the trees, 20 to 30 feet above the ground. However, you might be able to attract some squirrels with bird feeders.

Take a look at all the squirrels in Florida below:

  • Southern Flying Squirrel
  • Mexican Red-bellied Squirrel
  • Eastern Gray Squirrel
  • Fox Squirrel
  • Big Cypress Fox Squirrel
  • Sherman’s Fox Squirrel
  • Eastern Chipmunk

Table of Contents

1. Southern Flying Squirrel

Scientific name: Glaucomys volans

We can find this species in basically every part of Florida, except for the Florida Keys. They’ll set their nests in tree cavities, but there are also nest boxes set up by conservation agencies.

These nocturnal animals primarily feed on nuts, such as acorns and hickory nuts, but they’ll also eat insects and bird eggs. They’ll also eat fruits and berries if they find any, but that’s more rare.

  • Size: no longer than 10 inches.
  • Color: brown and gray on the back and the sides, underside is white.
  • Tail: up to 5 inches long, usually brown.
  • Food: mostly nuts, sometimes insects and bird eggs. They can digest fruit but given its scarcity in the wild, they rarely eat it.

2. Mexican Red-bellied Squirrel

Scientific name: Sciurus aureogaster

Nesting only in wooded areas of the Elliot Key (Dade County), this invasive species was introduced to Florida from Mexico in 1938. Although they’re an invasive species, they aren’t a threat to indigenous species of squirrel.

They can be as long as 22 inches, and they’re easy to recognize because of the red on their underside and the sides. The rest of the body is usually gray, sometimes black.

They feed mostly on grapes, papayas and other fruits, but they’ll eat mahogany if there isn’t enough fruit.

  • Size: up to 22 inches in length, with more than half of that being the tail.
  • Color: red sides and the underside, top of the body is usually gray or black.
  • Tail: can be as long as 12 inches, large and bushy.
  • Food: mostly fruit; sea grapes, papaya, coconuts – will eat mahogany if there isn’t enough fruit.

3. Eastern Gray Squirrel

Scientific name: Sciurus carolinensis

We can spot this squirrel around the entire Sunshine State, using tree hollows to form their nests, staying very high above the ground. There, they usually eat nuts, but also insects and bird eggs.

They’re a bit difficult to find because they spend so much time in the trees and they camouflage very well. They’re gray and brown with a white belly and sides.

  • Size: up to 20 inches in length.
  • Color: gray and brown with a white belly – very difficult to spot in the trees.
  • Tail: bushy and flattened, can grow up to 9 inches.
  • Food: mostly nuts, insects and bird eggs.

4. Fox Squirrel

Scientific name: Sciurus niger

Fox squirrels are very common across Florida, but they’re more rare in the Keys, Dade and Broward counties. There, they spend a lot of time on the ground, foraging for nuts.

They build their nests in tree hollows, where they give birth to two litters a year. They mainly feed on acorns, seeds, fruits, berries, insects and bird eggs. Fox squirrels will often eat mushrooms too.

  • Size: up to 24 inches.
  • Color: tan, brown or gray – underside can be both white and black.
  • Tail: up to 13 inches long, bushy.
  • Food: nuts, seeds, insects and bird eggs. Also fruits and berries, which are usually more difficult to find.

5. Big Cypress Fox Squirrel

Scientific name: Sciurus niger avicennia

This protected species of squirrel can be found in southwestern Florida, just like the fox squirrel – they forage the ground and live in the trees. The big cypress fox squirrel usually lives in cypress and pine forests.

They mainly eat cypress seeds, cabbage palm fruit, acorns and figs. Unlike many other squirrels, they rarely eat insects or bird eggs. The big cypress fox squirrel is a very dark color with only their toes being white.

  • Size: about 11 inches long.
  • Color: very dark, almost black, except for their dark toes.
  • Tail: black and bushy.
  • Food: mostly nuts, acorns, seeds and fruits – they rarely eat insects and bird eggs.

6. Sherman’s Fox Squirrel

Scientific name: Sciurus niger shermani

You can only find these Florida squirrels in the area between Tampa and Lake Okeechobee. They nest in oak trees, where they primarily eat pine seeds and acorns.

Just like the big cypress fox squirrel, they’re black (or at least very dark), while the nose and the ears are usually white. They can be as long as 28 inches and they usually live a very solitary life.

  • Size: up to 28 inches long, females are smaller.
  • Color: black with white nose and ears.
  • Tail: almost as long as the head and torso.
  • Food: pine seeds and acorns.

7. Eastern Chipmunk

Scientific name: Tamias striatus

Lastly, we have the eastern chipmunk, a squirrel we can find in the northwest part of Florida, usually hiding in deciduous woods and forest edges. They’re also not afraid of coming close to residential areas.

These squirrels spend a large portion of their time on the ground, foraging for food. Interestingly, unlike the other species, the eastern chipmunk builds its burrows under trees and rocks, rather than doing it in the trees.

  • Size: up to 10 inches.
  • Color: a certain red-brown with white on the sides and on the belly.
  • Tail: up to 4 inches long, red or tan.
  • Food: primarily nuts and seeds, sometimes insects and very small mammals.

Leave a Comment