Arizona gray squirrel

Sciurus arizonensis

SUBFAMILY

Sciurinae

TAXONOMY

Sciurus arizonensis Coues, 1867, Arizona, United States.

OTHER COMMON NAMES None known.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Head and body length 9.6-12.6 in (244-321 mm), tail 7.5-11 in (200-285 mm); weight 18-31 oz (520-870 g). Upper body grizzled silver gray, in winter with brownish yellow dorsal stripe. Underside white, tail is black fringed with white; with orange to rusty brown hairs ventrally. White eye ring.

DISTRIBUTION

Arizona, New Mexico, and Sonora, Mexico. HABITAT

Riparian deciduous forest, mixed broadleaf forests at elevations of 3,600-9,200 ft (1,100-2,800 m).

BEHAVIOR

Diurnal activity pattern. Nests are located in a variety of species including sycamores, walnut trees and Apache pines, most found in oak trees. Recorded vocalizations include chucking and barking alarm calls.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Diet includes corns, walnuts, conifer seeds, berries, tree flowers, and alder buds.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Polygamous. Breeding activity linked to flower emergence and most females in estrus in April and early May. Observed litter size ranges from 2 to 4.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Introduction of Abert squirrels into the Catalina Mountains may adversely affect existing populations. Arizona gray squirrels have been listed as a Category 2 species by the Fish and Wildlife Service. Considered endangered in Mexico due to severe habitat loss through agricultural development and logging.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

Visits picnic sites in the mountains. Focus of scientific study. ♦

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