The Delmarva fox squirrel, which lives in forests throughout the Delmarva peninsula, was once seriously threatened due to habitat loss. Extensive development and logging in the region disrupted the critter’s habitat. This landed the Delmarva fox squirrel on the first ever endangered species list in 1967.
Fortunately, these squirrels are on the rebound. Thanks to conservation efforts, the population has increased to nearly 20,000. They were officially removed from the endangered species list in November of 2015.
While the Delmarva fox squirrel may look similar to the common gray squirrel, some key differences help to distinguish them. The Delmarva fox squirrel tends to be a lighter color and can grow up to 30 inches and weigh three pounds—twice the weight of the gray squirrel. Instead of leaping from tree to tree like gray squirrels, they will climb down to the ground and walk across.
The Delmarva fox squirrel is also much quieter and stealthier than the brazen gray squirrel, making them more difficult to find. Your best chance to see one of these critters for yourself may be at Blackwater, Chincoteague or Prime Hook national wildlife refuges. If you do manage to catch a glimpse, take a photo for the Washington Post’s annual Squirrel Week photography contest.
Learn more about the Delmarva fox squirrel.