Squirrels in your yard are fairly easy to pick out, regardless of species. On the whole tree and flying squirrels are much larger than the chipmunks (ground squirrels) and have a tail that is much fuller.
The larger tree squirrels, including the fox, eastern gray, western gray and Abert’s Squirrel (tassel-eared) range in overall length, tail included, from 16 inches for the gray squirrels to 27 inches for the fox squirrels. Fox squirrels are the largest weighing up to 2 and ¼ pounds with the gray squirrel weighing, at most, 1 and ¾ pounds.
Pine Squirrels, which include the Red Squirrel and the Douglas Squirrel are much smaller with a length of 10 to 15 inches and weighing in at 1/3 to 2/3 pounds.
Flying squirrels are smaller yet measuring 10 inches at most for the southern varieties and 12 inches for the northern flying squirrels. Flying squirrels have a web of skin that connects their fore and hind legs at the wrist which allow them to glide through the tree tops. This membrane, or patagiuim, forms a gliding surface and acts much like a rudder on a boat that stabilizes the gliding actions.
Coloring varies between the species as well. The Fox Squirrels can be hard to identify by fur color. This is due to the fact that their coloring varies from light tan to gray. The undersides are lighter than the top color and they have white nose with black faces and feet.
Gray squirrels, Eastern and Western, are smoky gray in color and can be better distinguished by their ears and not their coloring. The Western Gray squirrel has large, prominent ears compared to the smaller ears of the Eastern Gray squirrels.
Pine squirrels, including the Red Squirrel, are, not surprisingly, reddish-brown with the Douglas’s squirrel are little closer to gray in hue. Both animals are creamy yellow beneath.
The Flying squirrels are grey to brown and very hard to distinguish between species, but are very distinguishable from tree squirrels due to their wing skin, patagiuim, and flattened tails.
All squirrels have five (5) toes on their hind legs and four (4) on their front with long sharp claws atop each toe.