Skip to main content

Gray Squirrel

Kentucky State Wild Game Animal

Eastern gray squirrel; photo by Robert Taylor on Flickr (use permitted with attribution).

Official State Wild Game Animal of Kentucky

The eastern gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) was designated the official state wild animal game species of Kentucky in 1968. The gray squirrel is a member of the rodent family. All State Mammals

The eastern gray squirrel (most frequently seen east of the Mississippi River) is best known for Its ability to plan for the future. In autumn, the gray squirrel spends each day gathering nuts and seeds and hiding them so it will have enough food to last through the winter. This behavior is called "scatter hoarding." The squirrel buries food in hundreds of different locations (if another squirrel or animal finds some of them, the rest will still remain). The squirrel cleans each nut or seed before it is hidden, which leaves a scent that the squirrel can find later in the winter (even through a heavy blanket of snow).

Not all nuts or seeds are recovered (since a squirrel saves more food than it needs). These abandoned nuts and seeds then grow into trees and a forest is grown (squirrels are responsible for planting more trees than all of humankind).