What Color Are Squirrels?

Squirrels are small cute, but wild rodents often found on the trees in your backyard or outside the house. These species have different colors, which depends on various reasons.

What Color Are Squirrels? There are different colors of squirrels, such as grey, red, white, yellow, orange, black, and green, Indian giant squirrels with multiple shades, and cream-colored giant squirrels. They have different colors due to genetic mutation and the difference in color pigments. It helps them survive in different environments, as they can use shaded hair and fur to find food and hide from predators.

There are approximately 285 squirrel species, all of which have different colors. Some have mixed color combinations, while others have pure one shade from head to tail.

What are the different colors of squirrels?

They are found in different colors, and some of the most common colors in squirrels are listed here.

Grey squirrels

Grey squirrels are common and frequently found rodents you often notice in your garden or parks outside the house.

They have a grey body, but some red or brown patches are present on the face or legs, while some have a silver touch in the tail fur.

They are habitats of wooden and urban areas and eat nuts, fruits, and wood. They usually have long, bushy tails to help them climb the trees.

There are different species of these squirrels found in North America, the UK, western and northern Scotland, Florida, Ontario, and East Texas.

Red squirrels

Red squirrels are abundant and can swim and hang upside down from the trees. They have larger ear tuft, smaller than grey squirrels, and red fur bushy tails.

They do not hibernate and survive on the food they bury in the soil or snow because they can locate the food over one foot down the snow.

They are present in the Northern United States, New Mexico, Arizona, some parts of Canada, and the Appalachian Mountains. They are territorial ad prefer to nest and breed in trees or woodlands.

They can live for six years, and you can find them in Coniferous forests in North America and Europe. American red squirrels have a size of 12 inches and sometimes have black and white patches on the side and under the belly.

White squirrels

Two types of white squirrels are found, such as Albino and Leucistic having long fluffy tails. Albino species have pure white color without any strips or patches, and these rodents have pink and blue eyes.

Leucistic white squirrels have dark black eyes, and another type of white squirrel has black patches with a white coat. 

These white rodents are actually a white shade of the eastern grey squirrel, which gets the white shade due to mutation or reduced color pigment.

However, all white squirrels are not albino, and the rare rodents can be found in Canada, North Carolina, North America, Florida, and in some areas of the Gulf Coast.

Yellow squirrels

Yellow ground squirrels, also known as Spermophilus fulvus, have large and sturdy bodies. They are the habitants of Iran, China, Russia, Afghanistan, and Uzbekistan. 

These are not as common as grey and red squirrels but are found in different parts of the world. The yellow pine chipmunk and yellow-bellied marmot have a yellow color with brown, grey, and black shade strips or patches.

Yellow-bellied marmot hibernates in winter and gains extra weight before the hibernation period to survive, while yellow pine chipmunks do not gain weight but store food to eat in winter.

Orange squirrels

Orange color squirrels are not very common, as some species with orange shade mixed with red or brown are found in the woodland of America.

Some species of fox squirrels also have an orange color with a reddish underside, while some have a brown shade with orange. Some red squirrels in Europe and Asia have an orange shade because the color depends on the geological conditions and their location.

All fox squirrels do not have an orange shade, as the eastern fox squirrels have large size and orange coloration. They live in California, Washington, and Oregon.

Black squirrels

Most black squirrels are eastern grey or fox squirrels and are rare because they adopt this shade due to a rare mutation or variant gene pigment in these rodents.

They are found in areas where grey and fox squirrels are present in different parts of the world, such as Ontario, Ohio, Washington, North America, and the United Kingdom.

They are more aggressive than other species and eat insects, bird eggs, fruits, nuts, and seeds. They are more territorial and attack other predators and other species.

Their black shade fur has the advantage of maintaining the body temperature, as the black fur minimizes the chances of hearing loss and keeps the body warm.

Indian giant squirrels

They are rare in other parts of the world, as they are native to India and are large-sized, as their name shows. They are the specie of tree squirrels and are approximately 2-3 feet large.

They are multicolor rodents, such as red, brown, blue, green, and other shades, and deforestation is their biggest threat.

These giant rodents use their large tails to help balance their bodies and are omnivores, as they eat fruits, seeds, nuts, and insects. There are approximately 1800-1900 these rodent species in Indian rainforests.

These animals stand on their hind legs and use their hands to eat as other rodents do while eating their favorite food.

Cream colored giant squirrels

The cream-colored giant squirrels are the large tree squirrels found in Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, and Brunei. The colorful strips and large size makes them different from other rodents, as the head can be black while the belly has yellow mixed with white shade.

They build their nest in secondary forests and lower Montane and prefer habitat in the upper forest canopy. They come down to the ground for searching food and hunt insects or other species.

They can live in groups or alone and scream a loud and sharp sound when stressed or angry. These rodents have small hands and thumbs to grab the food and eat.

Green squirrels

Green squirrels have a green bushy tail, and are the natives of Nigeria, Sierra, Guinea, Gabon, Liberia, Congo, and Benin.

They have territorial behavior and do not allow other species to enter their living space. They eat acorns, walnuts, vegetables, and hazelnuts.

They can grow up to 192 mm and belong to the specie Paraxerus poensis, which is related to the family of Sciuridae. You can often see a touch of green shade touch in these rodent species.

Why do squirrels have different colors?

There are two basic reasons for these rodents to have different colors in each species, genetic mutation and adaptation.

Their different colors are due to the different amounts of color pigments in genes called melanin, which grows in the fur or hair as the baby rodent grows.

Their appearance and hair shade change with the molts, such as the grey and red squirrel molts in spring and autumn, although the fur or tail hair is replaced once during the molting period.

A single gene cannot control the hair and fur shade, but several genes are involved in this process, and these genes are called alleles. The genes in the animal body control the melanin and switch it on and off, which affects the coloration and the color strength.

How do different colored squirrels survive?

Different color squirrels survive by camouflage, which helps the rodents to blend in the surrounding and hide from danger and predators.

They can blend in the surrounding colors and make predators wonder about their escape. For example, black rodents can hide in the dark, which makes it difficult for predators to find them in the dark environment until they turn the lights on and search for the rodent.

Different shade fur also helps them find food, as white squirrels can hide in the snow and find food without worrying about predators.

Similarly, red squirrels can use red hair or furs to hide in the trees and search the food easily. Therefore, different shades in the rodents help them to survive in different environments.

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