Wildlife of the Week: fox squirrel

Campus squirrels have some history



A female fox squirrel eats maple seeds off of a tree on the Pullman WSU Campus, Monday, May 3, 2021.


The fox squirrel is a species familiar to almost every WSU student, whether they know it or not. The famous (and sometimes infamous) “campus squirrels” are this species, and one of the only squirrels in the Palouse.

According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Washington is home to 13 different species of squirrel, but only a handful are introduced to the population. 

The fox squirrel falls under this category, being native to the Eastern U.S. but introduced to Southeastern Washington in the 1900s. It is possible the species were introduced to the local towns to make them feel more “familiar” alongside the planting of Eastern U.S. trees. 

Nowadays, fox squirrels are common throughout the region. Although they are an invasive species, they have not spread much from the local towns and cities — this is mainly due to the lack of trees in a majority of the Palouse.

Their population has grown significantly but is kept in check by the local coyotes, hawks and owls. So keep an eye out for these keen hunters watching the squirrels around campus!