North Carolina is home to several types of squirrels although gray squirrels are the most common and the official state mammal. Typically, they coexist well with humans, but they can cause damage to homes. Learn more about these common animals and how they live.
As you might imagine, gray squirrels have grayish brown coloring and a bushy tail. They are active throughout the year and their fur may appear more silver or yellow during different seasons. Gray squirrels also have a whitish belly and are much larger than red squirrels, which are common in western North Carolina.
Gray squirrels live in every part of North Carolina. They can be found in urban, suburban and rural areas. The density of their population demands on the availability of food. They eat tree nuts, so they tend to do best in hardwood forests. Gray squirrels prefer older trees that have holes where they can seek shelter from predators and bad weather. If they can’t find an ideal hole to inhabit, they will build a nest of leaves and use the tree to provide some level of protection.
Reproduction and Lifespan
Gray squirrels live about 6 years. The mating seasons occur during late winter and mid-summer. When food is plentiful, females will give birth to larger litters, which can range from 1-9 babies. The young will stay with the mother until she weans them at about 56-70 days.
Older males tend to sit atop the social hierarchy. Males and females will mate, but don’t partner or pair bond. Gray squirrels are quite vocal and use a variety of sounds and tail movements to communicate.
Gray squirrels are a common sight throughout North Carolina. In most cases, they are a welcomed addition to any landscape, but there are some cases where they will nest in a home’s attic. If you have squirrels causing damage to your home, call PMi Pest Management. Our technicians can safely remove these pests and help you protect your home.