If you spend most of the day with your eyes open, you have most likely seen one or a million of these. In my opinion, their most notable characteristic is playing chicken with you while driving. They have a habit of going one direction, then pulling a fake-out at the last second to throw off your compensation which usually results in you having a near miss or an unfortunate not miss. I’ve had the misfortune of having one of those before 🙁
Despite its name, these squirrels aren’t limited to that color. They sometimes have a brownish color and sometimes even come in black (which are melanistic). They are also hoarders.. and no, not like the show. Actually, they are scatter-hoarders which means that they can have any number of hidden food caches throughout the area. They are very spatially aware and are known to use landmarks to keep track of these.
I have a few more characteristics for you which are based entirely off of observation. Eastern Gray Squirrels are capable of being quite mean when confronted (we’ll touch on that later). Due to some ineffective blockading of an old furnace chimney by some previous owner of our house, we ended up with one of these in the basement. After noticing the squirrel at the same moment the squirrel noticed me, we then entered into a 5-10 second staring match. One waiting for the other to make the first move. The squirrel moved first, darting to the far side of basement only to disappear amongst the shadows and boxes.
This leads me to another observation. Eastern Gray Squirrels are capable of being almost completely silent and will remain so for annoyingly long amounts of time. After it performing a vanishing act that would even impress James Randy and win it the $1,000,000 prize, I proceeded to wait it out. It took about an hour before I heard some rustling which finally led me to its location. Now on to the previously mentioned mean-ness.
I located the squirrel and with broom in hand, made the move to poke it out from behind a box. I now know that squirrels growl. Yes, they growl. They also spread out all of their little fingers to expose their decently sized claws and will attempt to remove one’s face if close enough. I feel that I’m dragging this on so let’s just say that after building a contained pathway out of boxes and Rubbermaid bins, I was able to direct it out the door.
Also, they are cute.