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Species: Squirrel

Protection Level
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Federally Protected No
State Protected Game Species
VA Nuisance Species No

 


In Virginia there are six species of squirrels. Of the six species, two have subspecies that are federally endangered; the Delmarva Peninsula fox squirrel, Carolina northern flying squirrel and the Virginia northern flying squirrel. Because of the three federally protected species it is important for the homeowner to distinguish what species of squirrel is being problematic before taking control measures. The easiest way to determine if the problematic squirrel is a federally protected species is to compare the problem location to the species county distribution maps (below). The common fox squirrel is primarily a western Virginia species that can be confused with the Delmarva Peninsula fox squirrel on looks alone, however the Delmarva Peninsula fox squirrel is only know to occur in Accomack and Northampton counties, both of which have never had any common fox squirrel occurrence records. The federally endangered northern flying squirrel can be distinguished from the common southern flying squirrel by noting that the northern flying squirrel is only found in Grayson, Highland, Montgomery, and Smyth counties in high elevations of red spruce or Fraser fir.

Identification
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Eastern Fox Squirrel
Sciurus niger

More Photos

Sciurus niger
[© Dave Herr]

county distribution map for Sciurus niger

 

 

Gray Squirrel
Sciurus carolinensis

More Photos

Sciurus carolinensis
[© Charles Warren, CMI]

county distribution map for Sciurus carolinensis

 

 

Red Squirrel
Tamiasciurus hudsonicus

More Photos

Tamiasciurus hudsonicus
[© Charles Warren, CMI]

 

county distribution map for Tamiasciurus hudsonicus

 

Delmarva Peninsula Fox Squirrel
Sciurus niger cinereus

More Photos

Sciurus niger cinereus

county distribution map for Sciurus niger cinereus

 

 

Northern Flying Squirrel
Glaucomys sabrinus

More Photos

Glaucomys sabrinus
[© Ray Brown]

 

county distribution map for Glaucomys sabrinus

 

 

Southern Flying Squirrel
Glaucomys volans

Photos

 

 

county distribution map for Glaucomys volans

       
       



Legal
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Squirrels in Virginia are classified as a game species 29.1-100, this typically indicates squirrels can not be hunted outside of the defined hunting season and at no time can they can be trapped. Virginia code address problematic squirrels with two laws distinguish the taking of squirrels in areas where the discharge of a firearm is legal and in areas where the discharge of a firearm is illegal.

In areas where the discharge of firearms is legal section 29.1-516 allows a landowner to take squirrels for personal use year round. However if the landowner is looking to take a squirrel for damage reasons rather than personal use, a permit is required from a game warden. The number for the local game warden can be obtained from the Who to Call section of this site. In the areas where the discharge of a firearm is legal, it is illegal to trap squirrels due to their game species classification (§29.1-530 ).

It is important for the landowner to ensure before dispatching an animal that it is not one of the three federally endangered specie of squirrel in Virginia (Delmarva Peninsula fox squirrel, Carolina northern flying squirrel and the Virginia northern flying squirrel). These three species are protect under the Federal Endangered Species Act that states it is illegal to take any endangered species (Endangered Species Act).

In the areas of Virginia where the discharge of a firearm is illegal, section 29.1-530 allows landowners to trap problematic squirrels on their property year round and dispose of the animal any way they see fit except by sale. This section of code was created to help landowners in populated areas deal with problematic squirrels.

As with any wildlife, non lethal measures should be exhausted before lethal measures are taken.


In Virginia it is illegal to

  • destroy or molest the nest or young of a squirrel 29.1-521,
  • set a trap where it would be likely to injure persons, dogs, stock or fowl 29.1-521,
  • not visit all traps once each day and remove all animals caught 29.1-521,
  • transport, release, or relocate a squirrel anywhere other than the property it was caught on 4VAC15-30-50, and
  • poison any animal (including squirrels) other than rats and mice on your property. 4VAC15-40-50

In Virginia it is legal to

  • take squirrels for personal use year round if the discharge of a firearm is legal 29.1-516,
  • obtain a permit from a game warden for problematic squirrels that are not going to be taken for personal use §29.1-530, and
  • to trap problematic squirrels where the discharge of a firearm is illegal §29.1-530

It is a Federal offence to

  • take a Delmarva Peninsula fox squirrel, Carolina northern flying squirrel or Virginia northern flying squirrel (Endangered Species Act).

 

Management Options
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Other Sources

Controlling Tree Squirrels in Urban Areas, Texas Cooperative Extension

Dealing with Nuisance Wildlife, Maryland Cooperative Extension (need to scroll to appropriate species)

Prevention and Control of Wildlife Damage-1994

Tree Squirrels, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Wildlife Damage Management Program

Tree Squirrels, Urban Wildlife Damage Control, Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service

 

 

 

Life History
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Life History information can be found at the Virginia Fish and Wildlife Information Service Web page.

Eastern Fox Squirrel
Gray Squirrel
Red Squirrel
Delmarva Peninsula Fox Squirrel
Northern Flying Squirrel
Southern Flying Squirrel


Disease
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There are many diseases that wildlife species are capable of carrying and transferring to humans (zoonotic diseases). While all zoonotic diseases are a serious threat to humans this website will only address those that are a concern for Virginia residents.

Dermatophytoses