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I am running...

I am running...
Photo Information
Copyright: Donna Rasmussen (captainsgirl) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 491 W: 6 N: 997] (4088)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-08-19
Categories: Mammals
Camera: Cannon EOS Rebel XTi, 55-200 1:4.5-5.6
Exposure: f/7.1, 1/1250 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2007-09-26 10:39
Viewed: 11919
Points: 34
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Strange little creature I photographed while on a golf course in Mrytle Beach, I thought it was some strange monkey at first. While he looked at me I thought he was holding a golf ball in his mouth as he has a big white spot on his nose! I went back to my brothers place and looked up this info on the internet!

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Fox Squirrel (Sciurus niger) is the largest species of tree squirrels native to North America. They are also sometimes referred to as the Stump-eared Squirrel, Raccoon Squirrel, or Monkey-faced Squirrel. They are sometimes mistaken for Eastern Gray Squirrels by casual observers in those areas where both species co-exist, despite the differences in size and coloration.

The Fox Squirrel's natural range extends throughout the eastern United States, excluding New England, north into the southern prairie provinces of Canada, and west to the Dakotas, Colorado, and Texas. They have been introduced into Northern California. While very versatile in their habitat choices, fox squirrels are most often found in forest patches of 400,000 square metres or less with an open understory, or in urban neighborhoods with trees. They thrive best among trees such as oak, hickory, walnut and pine that produce winter-storable foods like nuts. Western range extensions in Great Plains regions such as Kansas are associated with riverine corridors of cottonwood. A subspecies native to several eastern U.S. states, the Delmarva fox squirrel, Sciurus niger cinereus, is a listed endangered species.

Total body length measures 45 to 70 cm, tail length is 20 to 33 cm, and they range in weight from 500 to 1000 grams. There is no sexual dimorphism in size or appearance. Individuals tend to be smaller in the west. There are three distinct geographical phases in coloration: in most areas the animals are brown-grey to brown-yellow, while in eastern regions such as the Appalachians there are more strikingly-patterned dark brown and black squirrels with white bands on the face and tail. In the south can be found isolated communities with uniform black coats.

A healthy Fox Squirrel with sunflower seed in handFox Squirrels depend primarily on tree seeds for food, but they are generalist eaters and will also consume buds and fruits, cultivated grain, insects, birds' eggs, and small lizards. Cannibalism has been reported, but should be considered very rare. In their regular diet of nuts, fox squirrels are classic scatter-hoarders that bury caches of nuts in dispersed locations, some of which are inevitably left unretrieved to germinate.

Fox Squirrels are strictly diurnal, non-territorial, and spend more of their time on the ground than most other tree squirrels. They are still, however, agile climbers. They construct two types of homes called "dreys", depending on the season. Summer dreys are often little more than platforms of sticks high in the branches of trees, while winter dens are usually hollowed out of tree trunks by a succession of occupants over as many as 30 years. Cohabitation of these dens is not uncommon, particularly among breeding pairs.

There are two breeding seasons, one peaking in December and the other in June. The young are blind, without fur and helpless at birth. They become independent at about three months and maturity is reached after one year. Their maximum life expectancy is 12.6 years for females and 8.6 years for males. Humans, hawks, snakes and bobcats prey on the squirrels.

They are gregarious and apparently playful, often chasing each other up and down trees and across yards and clearings. They have a large vocabulary, consisting most notably an assortment of clucking and chucking sounds,not unlike some "game" birds, and they warn the listening world of approaching threats. In the spring and fall, groups of fox squirrels clucking and chucking together can make a small ruckus. They are impressive jumpers, easily spanning fifteen feet in horizontal leaps and free-falling twenty feet or more to a soft landing on a limb or trunk.

Fox Squirrels are also known for being living fossils, skeletally very similar to remains of the oldest-known squirrel, Protosciurus, from the late Oligocene and early Miocene epochs.

I've been gone quite abit lately and now hope to be back for awhile. My Mom passed away after a long struggle with Alzeimhers and Demensia last Thursday.

Thanks for your comments on my photos.


fartash, pablominto, eqshannon, parthasarathi, lise, JoseMiguel, pierrefonds, Juyona, Alex99, Finland_in_Eton, nainnain, hester, valy67, wingle has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Hello Donna
Very intersting spiece to shoot,
I haven't seen this before,
Perfect focusing,lighting and BG,Welldone.
Sorry about your mom, God bless her.


Hello Donna,
That is an interesting animal, the first photograph I have seen of this species!
Pretty big squirrel if it can reach 70 cm plus tail...
Nice catch with good details!
Pablo -

Way cool Donna...Who woulda thought? I have never seen nor heard of this squirrel. You took the camera out on the links with you eh? Double duty. A very fast eye and shutter. Good show!

Hi Donna,
that's soooo lovely, I like the moment and this cute guy, thanks
Sabine - wishnugaruda

Lovely capture.

  • Great 
  • lise Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor [C: 169 W: 48 N: 548] (2877)
  • [2007-09-26 13:12]

Hi Donna,
Very strange looking squirrel! He's cute in his own way :)
Great capture and TFS

Bonsoir Donna,putôt étrange cet écureuil,bravo pour cet capture

Hi Donna,
So this is the first time I see a fox squirrel!
You caught it in a very good pose, with good details on its fur and characteristic white spot on its nose.
It's very interesting the info in your notes also.
Well done and thanks for share it.
My best regards,

Hi Donna,

A good POV of the fox squirrel, the photo has a good composition, sharpness and nice colors. Thanks for sharing.


  • Great 
  • Juyona Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor [C: 2232 W: 10 N: 2971] (16891)
  • [2007-09-26 19:36]

Hola querida amiga,
original captura,
buen foco:) y detalles.
mi afecto sincero por el fellecimiento de tu madre,
muchos saludos Donna.

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2007-09-27 0:54]

Hi Donna.
I congratulate you on so nice action picture. Pictured scene is really amazing as well as the rich colour palette, excellent exposure parameters, great DOF and details of the image. Bravo. Superb done.

My condolences on the loss of your mother. At last she will have some peace.

I've read about these squirrels and have seen them in field guides but this is the first photo I've seen of one in action. What a great action shot! Nice colors despite the overcast, and beautiful detail. Well done.

TFS Mish

hello donna
bien belle captre, couleurs nettes, bon POV et DOF
excellent travail
merci a toi du partage

  • Great 
  • hester Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1515 W: 18 N: 3165] (11638)
  • [2007-09-29 11:59]

Hi Donna

What a great looking creature. I haven't see one of these before. I love the energetic pose. Nicely caught



Hello Donna !
I had never seen a squirrel with this color, really strange, but of course he is very beautiful. You were lucky to be able to caputre him, I'm sure he was running very fast. Very well done !

Wow Donna,
What an interesting specie. At first, I thought it was a Black Squirrel, I know that we have some here but I have never see a fox squirrel running :) This is a nice capture with natural exposure, good details and moment caught Well done with interesting notes. Thanks!

This is really nice! We have quite a few fox squirrels in and around the Charleston area too, but I've yet to come across one that's mostly black... neat!

Hi Donna,
I've not seen one of these in California yet, though they're supposedly introduced here, I'll have to keep an eye out now. :) Nice action shot! You got the shot while it was running. Sharp focus, good exposure, natural colors and good contrast. Congrats!

I saw one in Wilmington, NC. It was on River Rd. near the Cape Fear River going South towards Carolina Beach. I was amazed, never saw one before...

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