Sciurus-niger

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Sherman’s Fox Squirrel (Sciurus niger shermani)

Sherman’s Fox Squirrel is found in the Southeastern US in Longleaf Pine forest. The Sherman’s Fox Squirrel is a fire dependent species. It is only found in areas that have frequent fires to maintain the pine flatwood ecosystem the squirrel is adapted to survive in. Fire suppression and habitat loss have lead to a decline in their population. 

Osceola National Forest, FL

The Delmarva Fox Squirrel is a subspecies of the Eastern Fox Squirrel that is only found on the Delmarva Peninsula. Their large size and bright silvery fur separates them from the more common Easton Gray Squirrel. Look for Delmarva Fox Squirrels in mixed open woods with little or no understory. Check out the Eastern Fox Squirrel species page at the Maryland Biodiversity Project: http://www.marylandbiodiversity.com/viewSpecies.php?species=788

Photo by Jim Brighton.

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A couple weeks ago, my wife spotted a roadkill squirrel in our neighborhood. Her initial reaction was fox squirrel – but then she doubled back and said ground squirrel, because fox squirrels, simply put, aren’t found where we live.

I went to retrieve it and – surprise! – it was indeed a fox squirrel (Sciurus niger), the first I’ve ever seen in our region of the Upper Peninsula! He was pretty banged up, his head crushed and his intestines and testes spilled out of his body. Nevertheless, I skinned him out and froze the pelt, because I knew that this find was of scientific importance.

I contacted the university downstate and, as it turns out, there are zero records of fox squirrels in the Upper Peninsula! I’ve arranged to overnight the frozen pelt, and I’ll be writing a short paper about this cool discovery.

worgenfur  asked:

18, 22, & 24

18 - Do you name your skulls, bones, pelts, etc?

No. I might call them an informal “Ms. Coyote” or “little buck” or “April Deer” but I don’t name them.

22 - Do you talk to your family and friends about bones? What do they think about it?

Family, friends, coworkers, you name it! My parents and my wife are all about it and in my parents’ case, have been supportive since the beginning. I owe a lot of my finds to friends and coworkers, as I’m the go-to person to call when they see something dead. I live in a place where a lot of people hunt and scavenge from nature, so it’s not considered a weird thing.

24 - What’s one of your strangest finds?

I’ll go with a more recent one, the fox squirrel (Sciurus niger) that I picked up off the road in my neighborhood. I live in the northern reaches of Michigan, and this was the first fox squirrel I’d ever seen in my county. Turns out there have been no records of the species in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, period. I skinned out the fox squirrel and UPS’d it (overnight air!) to the University of Michigan’s mammal division. I’m working on an academic paper to be published in the future, which is neat!