There are a range of squirrel types that live in Texas, and they all have different habitats. None of these species are endemic to the state, but they can all be found there. Out of all the species of squirrel in Texas, only one is a tree-dweller, while the rest live on the ground.
Mexican Ground Squirrel
Mexican ground squirrels live in burrows; they live in loose colonies, but are quite territorial. Over the years they have adapted well to humans infringing on their habitats, so they can be found in many populous areas. Common habitats for these squirrels include cemeteries, golf courses and roadsides. They're happy to make their burrows anywhere there's bare earth and sufficient space, although they favor soil that is gravelly or sandy.
Spotted Ground Squirrel
Spotted ground squirrels are the smallest of all North American ground-dwelling squirrels. They like to live in areas that are dry and sandy, with sparse vegetation and scrub-like land. They will only choose to live in places where they can find the foods they prefer: seeds, green grasses, roots, tubers and bark. However, they'll also consume insects and insect larvae, and even some small lizards and other vertebrates.
Thirteen-Lined Ground Squirrel
The habitat of the 13-lined ground squirrel, also known as the striped gopher or "thirteen liner," used to be only in short-grass prairies, but as these areas have declined, they have adapted to reside in other areas. Some populated environments fit their needs extremely well, and it's not unusual to find them anywhere with cut grass. This includes golf courses, cemeteries and residential neighborhoods. They live in burrows they dig themselves. Their burrows come in a range of types, such as long ones for nesting and shorter ones for quickly escaping predators.
Rock squirrels look very similar to their tree-dwelling relatives, but they don't live in trees and rarely even climb them. They dig burrows to live in, normally next to a tree or other elevated area they can use as a lookout point. Their habitat is generally in rocky areas, like cliffs, canyons and hillsides, as they are excellent climbers and have no trouble scaling sheer rock.
Eastern Gray Squirrel
The only tree-dwelling squirrel to live in Texas is the eastern gray squirrel. They prefer to live and make their nests inside trees. They will, however, make a nest out of leaves in a tree canopy if they can't find a suitable space inside a tree. They're adaptable and can be found anywhere there are abundant deciduous trees, from parks to forests to residential neighborhoods.
- Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History: Mexican Ground Squirrel
- Natural Science Research Laboratory at the Museum of Texas Tech University: Mexican Ground Squirrel
- Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History: Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel
- Natural Science Research Laboratory at the Museum of Texas Tech University: Rock Squirrel
- Fairfax County Public High School: Eastern Gray Squirrel
- Kansas Wetlands Education Center: Meet the Critters! The Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel
- Animal Diversity Web: Spotted Ground Squirrel
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