Skip to main content
Reservations recommended. Reserve tickets here.
Skip to main content

Fox Squirrel FAQs

Click each question below to view the corresponding answer:

As often as you like! Survey forms are designed to capture information from a single site (a yard, park, parking lot, etc.) for a single observation session. If you observe squirrels over multiple days, or in multiple locations, then you would submit a survey form for each new session. Here's the survey link.
We recommnd observing (or looking for) squirrels anywhere from 3-15 minutes. Note that if you are looking for Fox Squirrels and do not see any, this is also useful data to us! You will have the option on the form to say "I did not see a fox squirrel."
Anyone! Squirrels are often in yards and neighborhoods that the museum cannot access or easily visit. Your observations of neighborhood squirrels will allow NHMU researchers to gather a larger picture about how squirrels are interacting with the ecosystem in the Salt Lake Valley.

The following list includes some of the information that can be gathered from your observations: 

  • Daily activity patterns (and how these may change with weather conditions and across seasons)
  • Changes in local abundance
  • Favorable habitat characteristics
  • Local movements patterns and pathways
  • Interactions with other species
  • Behavioral patterns
At a minimum, we need location, date, and if you saw a squirrel or not. More detailed observations (like the habitat, what was the squirrel doing, etc.) are also incredibly useful to us.
They may be inactive (in a nest or resting in a tree) or exploring other areas in your neighborhood. If you try to observe squirrels and don't see any over a 15 minute period, this is useful data to share on the survey! You can submit a survey that notes you did not see any squirrels. 
They are only active during daylight. You may notice that environmental and seasonal factors (like temperature and weather) impact when you see squirrels.
They are not a direct health threat, but like many wild animals could bite when cornered or frightened. They can be yard and garden pests, damaging fruit and vegetable crops, and raiding bird feeders. They often nest in buildings and can cause considerable property damage.
Yes! Specimens support a broad range of research from molecular genetics to population and community ecology. Pictures are great (they may be worth a thousand words), but specimens may be worth a thousand pictures! Learn more about how to submit a fox squirrel specimen here
Fox squirrels resemble two other common squirrels in our area. American Red Squirrels are tree dwellers with very similar habits, but they are much smaller and darker (reddish-brown above and grayish-brown below) rather than orange. Rock Squirrels are similar in size, but are medium-gray, have a less prominent tail, and live on and under the ground (they are not good climbers). Check out this page for photos of all three species.
Strictly diurnal (active during the day), highly arboreal—running up and down trees, jumping from tree to tree, and walking on along fences and on overhead lines. Highly vocal, will bark and chatter at people and dogs.
Tree nuts, fruit, seeds, flower buds, bird eggs and nestlings, other small animals and insects. When nuts are plentiful, they are cached for later consumption.
Yes! Leaf nests in trees (dreys) are commonly used during the warm season. Litters are born and raised in tree cavity nests which also serve as winter nests. Nests also are made in buildings (often attic crawl spaces).
Females have two litters (average of 3 young) born in March and July.
Yes, fox squirrels are active year round.

Submit your fox squirrel sighting here.