Monday, July 5, 2010

My Friendly Fox Squirrel

I have a new visitor in my yard - a Florida fox squirrel! I had never seen one until I moved to this house in the rural area of Citrus Springs in May and was amazed when I saw the first one. They are HUGE and have the longest, biggest tails! They are very wild and not very friendly, so when this one started coming to my yard to raid my bird feeders, I was very surprised.

I've been waiting patiently inside my dining room for over two weeks to take a photo of him but if I moved and he saw me, he jumped down and ran up the nearest pine tree to hide. I'm assuming my visitor is a "him" because of his size. At first he would eat from the tray of food I put on the ground especially for the squirrels. But lately he prefers to climb the shepard's hook and raid the feeders. Often he just sits up there, and looks around.

My other visitors are several little squirrels, babies of regular-sized squirrels, who come together to eat. But when Mr. Fox Squirrel arrives, they scatter and hide until he leaves. I don't blame them. He probably looks like a giant to them. Here he is leaving my feeders headed back to the wooded area behind my back yard.

In my research about Florida fox squirrels, I learned that Florida considers them "endangered" and they are only found in certain areas of Florida. I'm feeling very blessed to be able to see them regularly and watch their ways.

When I first moved into this house, a fox squirrel sat high up in one of the pine trees behind my yard and chattered at me one afternoon as I unloaded my car. Later that same week (move-in week) the same fox squirrel sat high up in a pine tree in my side yard and chattered at me. So I'm assuming that I now have been accepted as a squatter in "his yard" especially since I provide tasty treats daily.

Since I moved here I've seen several fox squirrels - in my neighbor's yard across the road and several times either crossing the road or in trees. The ones around here are various colors, tan or dark grey and usually have black on their faces. One I saw had a totally black head, and one had a black face mask like a racoon.

Well, the rain has stopped and I'm going to check my bird feeders...taking my camera too as I sneak up to the dining room windows....