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Wanted: Public Help Mapping Fox Squirrel Sites

By: FWC Release
By: FWC Release

You can use the FWC’s Google map application at https://public.myfwc.com/hsc/foxsquirrel/GetLatLong.aspx to enter the location where you spotted the fox squirrel.

For more information about fox squirrels, visit the “Species Profiles” area of MyFWC.com/Wildlife.

 

Tallahassee, Florida - September 23, 2011 -

If you have seen a big squirrel with a long, bushy, fox-like tail, Florida wildlife biologists need your help.

What you saw was a Florida fox squirrel, and biologists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) are asking you to go online and record your sighting of this creature twice the size of an ordinary squirrel. Fox squirrels often have distinctive, masked faces with a black head and white nose and ears but, there are wide variations in coloration - from tan to gray or black.

You can use the FWC’s Google map application at https://public.myfwc.com/hsc/foxsquirrel/GetLatLong.aspx to enter the location where you spotted the fox squirrel. Your squirrel sighting will be logged automatically and assigned a specific latitude and longitude.

“The fox squirrel survey is a wonderful opportunity for children and adults to become amateur naturalists and get involved in conserving Florida’s wildlife. We will learn more about where the Florida fox squirrels are by asking the public to go online and report their sightings of fox squirrels,” said FWC wildlife biologist Courtney Hooker.

The fox squirrel survey is part of a research project by the FWC and the University of Florida Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation. It combines the latest in online-mapping technology with the public’s enthusiasm about sharing their wildlife observations. The fox squirrel survey began in August, and data will be collected through at least January 2012. So far about 600 sightings of fox squirrels have been logged online.

Fox squirrels have been observed throughout Florida in open woods, pine and cypress stands and mangrove swamps, but knowledge about their distribution is limited. Fox squirrels spend more time on the ground than in trees and often escape their enemies by running rather than climbing. Their favorite food is pine seed.

The Sherman’s fox squirrel is found in the pine forests of central and northeast Florida and is classified as a state species of special concern. The Big Cypress fox squirrel is a state-threatened species in southwest Florida. The Southeastern fox squirrel lives in the Panhandle. All of Florida’s fox squirrels are protected from hunting.


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