Saturday, January 7, 2012

Animals, Eastern Fox Squirrel Spotting

From time to time I will post animal profiles with my tips for viewing them, and potentially photographing them.  The first step is to get outside of your living room and explore the outdoors!

From the time you set your eyes on this little creature you realize that it is cute.  The Eastern Fox Squirrel is spotted daily in many urban environments around the United States.  Commonly found running across city streets, or shimmying down fences, they are in a perpetual search for acorns. They have incredible memories for many tasks, and have no trouble locating hidden acorns from months past.  Eastern Fox Squirrels are small rodent creatures with four legs, like most mammals, they have black eyes, and longer claws. Squirrels are regularly found climbing up trees, and the Eastern Fox Squirrel is no different. 
Two Peas in a Pod
Photographed these two in my backyard in Wyoming, MI in May of 2011

My Experience: I grew up in Michigan, where these little guys were everywhere.  They would always be in my back yard in the trees chattering at me.  This made finding and photographing them very simple.  You will probably have the same luck if there are a few trees in your area.

My Method: The easiest way I would suggest to spot one of these creatures is just walking down a city street.  Maybe a city that is more forested with Maple trees, or any other taller tree that the squirrels may use to nest.  Alternatively, you could walk in the woods or a forest somewhere and just keep your eyes on the tree canopies.

Difficulty: 2.5/100 (refer to scale below for difficulty explanation)

Difficulty Scale:
0-10:  Can be spotted just by stepping outside and searching around for a few moments.
10-20: May require a walk to an urban trail area, or just a vegetation filled neighborhood.

20-30: Slight chance of seeing in an urban neighborhood, but more likely to find by walking a small amount into a forest, or field.  [It is recommended to venture out of an urban area for any animal rated higher than 30.]

30-40: Must be searched for in a small walk in a nature based environment.  Virtually no chance of finding this animal in an urban setting.

40-50: May require a bit more searching once in nature setting.  Keep in mind specific ecosystems for the animal you are searching for.

50-60: Common animal, but somewhat hard to find.  May be small, camouflaged, or skittish.  1-3 miles away from road in habitat.

60-70: Somewhat rare animal, although extremely skittish. 3-5 miles away from road in habitat.

70-80: Somewhat rare animal, may be nocturnal, may be extremely small, may be extremely skittish, requires multiple hours of searching.  It is recommended to be silent or sit and wait for this animal, blending with environment is suggested along with scent cover.

80-90: Very rare animal, may be on endangered species list, requires specific environment, ecosystem, habitat, etc.  May require a several day camp out, or environment blending technique along with scent cover.

90-100: May be considered extinct, or very endangered, this animal could only be found by chance, or extreme dedication.  Humans go months and years without any of this animal being spotted.  Good luck!

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