Delmarva Fox Squirrel

Fox squirrels are the largest tree squirrels in the western hemisphere.

The Delmarva fox squirrel is one of 10 subspecies of the fox squirrel.

Before the 1900’s, the Delmarva fox squirrel’s original range was Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia, with stretches into southeastern Pennsylvania.

By 1900, the Delmarva fox squirrel was found only in Maryland.

By the mid-1960’s, only small pockets of populations were found in just four Maryland eastern shore counties; Kent (mine), Queen Anne’s, Talbot, and Dorchester.  That is less than 10% of its former range.  Conservation efforts showed dwindling success as habitats continued to decline.

In 1967, the Delmarva fox squirrel was federally listed as an endangered species.

Immediately, Maryland put forth more money and stronger conservation plans, but it wasn’t so easy.  Plans failed and had to be revised numerous times, all while trying to gain wider support and more devoted efforts.

It wasn’t until 2015 that success in stable populations was achieved in small pockets on private properties around Maryland’s eastern shore counties, and in December 2015, the Delmarva fox squirrel was delisted.

In 2020, Maryland translocated small populations (15-20) to southern Delaware and Virginia’s eastern shore in private areas in hopes of reestablishing them there once again, after previous failed attempts.  They will know in a couple more years if good pocket populations were created successfully in those two states as well.

Quite shy and elusive, the last time I saw a Delmarva fox squirrel was in 2018 at Blackwater NWR in Dorchester County, 75+ miles south of me where Maryland has the largest, thriving pocket population.

So you can imagine my thrill when a month ago I saw one for the first time in my Kent County, just a five miles from home at Chesapeake Farms on their wildlife tour!



Delmarva fox squirrel
(twice as large as a gray squirrel)


Of course, s/he scurried away but first watched me curiously for a bit while munching.  I loved it!

And then, guess what?  Two weeks later, another birding trip through the farm, about 3/4’s mile from my first sighting, I saw another one.


Delmarva fox squirrel
15″ (38cm) body length + 15″ (38cm) tail


After a quick disappear, it popped out again to check me out.


Delmarva fox squirrel

And then gone!  🙂

Chesapeake Farms’ auto wildlife tour is about five miles of winding through a diversified 3,300-acre dedicated wildlife management agricultural area on a dirt road.  It is truly a perfect location for the Delmarva fox squirrel to thrive where they will be provided a beautiful, private habitat for expansion and life.


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