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Arizona Gray Squirrel

Our back yard recently has been visited several times by a fairly large gray squirrel. According to what I have read of this squirrel, it lives in fairly remote areas in forests and woods in Arizona. This squirrel has seemingly violated those rules by being in a suburban neightborhood. Where do these sauirells nest, since there are predominantely palm trees, bottle trees, acacia trees and eucalyptus trees in this area. This squirrel is evidently attracted to the area of our bird feeder, which is of the hanging type (from a branch of our california pepper tree) and cannot actually get to the feeder itself. It also seems to graze in the grass, even though there are no visible seeds there except under the bird feeder. I'm writing because I wasn't aware that squirrels in Arizona behaved like that. Strange (to me). Thanks for any info.

Wildlife Expert - Ken Burton

You're correct, the Arizona Gray Squirrel lives in canyons in mountainous areas of eastern Arizona and western New Mexico. It is not known to occur in the Phoenix area. Although I know of no populations of nonnative squirrels in the area either, I'd say it's more likely, based on the habitat and behavior, that it's an Eastern Gray Squirrel, which is only slightly smaller. Many individuals of this species have been released in cities all over western North America. Let's hope this one isn't the first of many.

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