Nearly Extinct. Delmarva Fox Squirrel Beats the Odds.

This chill dude has made a comeback.

Delmarva Fox Squirrel
Delmarva Fox Squirrel chills out. (photo by Megan Simon, Maryland Environmental Service)

The Delmarva Fox Squirrel is leaving the Endangered Species List after about a half-century. It was one of the original 90 endangered species on the federal list and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officially absolves our cool fox  squirrel in December.

“The fox squirrel’s return to this area, rich with farmland and forest, marks not only a major win for conservationists and landowners, but also represents the latest in a string of success stories that demonstrate the Endangered Species Act’s effectiveness,” says the Interior Department’s Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks, Michael Bean

The Fox Squirrel joins the bald eagle, American alligator, peregrine falcon, whooping crane and California condor as having been saved from extinction.

“This not-so-little squirrel is emblematic of the big things possible when we work together to realize our commitments to restoring the health of the Chesapeake Bay’s ecosystem for fish, wildlife, and people too,” said U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), a senior member of the Environment and Public Works Committee.

Delmarva Fox Squirrel v. Grey Squirrel
Delmarva Fox Squirrel (left) is larger, more silvery, has a bushier tail and is found in forests. Gray Squirrels (right) are smaller, have a brown wash on their backs & tails, taller ears, and are found in cities. (photo courtesy U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service)

The Delmarva Fox Squirrel lives in forests and feeds on nuts, fungi and insects, unlike the city-dwelling Grey Squirrel often found in attics chewing on electric wiring.

This squirrel once ranged throughout Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia, but became endangered in the mid-20th century when farmers and developers began clearing the forest. More than 90-percent of the squirrels had been wiped out when it was put on the original endangered species list in 1967.

It’s now found in ten counties (up from four counties). Officials estimate there are about 20,000 Delmarva Fox Squirrels and they now range through 28 percent of the Delmarva Peninsula, primarily in Maryland.

The best places to see a Delmarva Fox Squirrel? The Blackwater (Maryland), Chincoteague (Virginia) and Prime Hook (Delaware) national wildlife refuges

 

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