There are nine different species of squirrels that can be found in Michigan. Squirrels vary in size and habitats preferences, but many squirrels can adapt to living near people. Squirrels eat a variety of foods such as seeds, nuts, fruits, flowers, clovers, insects, eggs, and even young birds.
Some squirrels spend the winter hibernating. For example, woodchucks (groundhogs) are herbivores, eating vegetation, and spend the winter hibernating when food is unavailable. (Contrary to popular belief, when Groundhog Day comes in February, most woodchucks are still hibernating and do not come out to see their shadow!)
In Michigan, there are nine different species of squirrels! Fox, gray, red, and flying squirrels nest and spend most of their time in trees. Chipmunks, woodchucks and ground squirrels have dens underground and rarely spend time in trees.
- Eastern fox squirrel
- Eastern gray squirrel
- Red Squirrel
- Flying Squirrels:
- Two species of flying squirrels are found in the state. The northern flying squirrel inhabits the northern Lower and Upper Peninsulas, while its close relative, the southern flying squirrel, inhabits the southern Lower Peninsula.
- Flying squirrels are entirely nocturnal, inhabiting mature forests and parks, as well as other woodlands. They utilize the many cavities that are found in mature trees for nesting and winter denning.
- Unlike bats, flying squirrels do not really fly. They have a loose membrane of furred skin attached between their front and back legs. The membrane helps these squirrels glide from tree to tree.
- Learn more about the northern flying squirrel.
- Learn more about the southern flying squirrel.
- Thirteen-lined ground squirrel
- Squirrel Hunting:
- The two largest tree squirrels (fox and gray) are by far the most hunted species. This is mostly due to their size and the fact that they provide the most meat to a hunter. They are active in the daytime and offer challenging hunting opportunities. Red squirrels are also hunted by some. Some species may be taken by hunting primarily to resolve nuisance or damage issues.
- Learn more about squirrel hunting
- *note flying squirrels are protected and do not have a hunting season.