Fox Squirrel Size Comparison

Written by Megan Martin
Published: December 10, 2021
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fox squirrel size comparison: red squirrel, grey squirrel
Fox squirrels are the largest tree squirrel in North America!

Did you know that the squirrels you may see in your backyard aren’t the only type of squirrel? In fact, there are over 200 squirrels all around the world, including the fox squirrel (Sciurus niger). With so many types of squirrels, it can be hard to see the little differences that make them unique. This fox squirrel size comparison will pit them against some of the most common types of squirrels so you can see one thing that makes them special: their size!

Types of Fox Squirrels

A species of rodent, a fox squirrel (Sciurus niger) sitting on branch in Denver, Colorado.
There are 12 subspecies of these supersized fox squirrels.

©Vaclav Matous/

While the fox squirrel may not be the largest squirrel in the world – that honor goes to the red and white flying squirrel – there’s no doubt that it’s a pretty large squirrel.

Including their tail, which is nearly half their length, fox squirrels can measure anywhere from 20 to 30 inches long. That’s nearly as long as a house cat. Despite their length, fox squirrels are all bark and no bite with a maximum weight of only 2 pounds – the same as 3 bananas! Some subspecies may be larger than this, however, such as the Delmarva fox squirrel, which can weigh up to 3 pounds.

However, just as no species of squirrel is made equal, not all fox squirrels are the same. In fact, in the United States, you can find as many as 12 different types of fox squirrels who can vary in size and color thanks to their various habitats. The 12 types of fox squirrels are

  • Southern fox squirrel (S. n. niger)
  • Mangrove fox squirrel (S. n. avicinnia)
  • Upland fox squirrel (S. n. bachmani)
  • Texas fox squirrel (S. n. limitis)
  • Delmarva fox squirrel (S. n. cinereus)
  • Pineywoods fox squirrel (S. n. ludovicianus)
  • Western fox squirrel (S. n. rufiventer)
  • Sherman’s fox squirrel (S. n. shermani)
  • Delta fox squirrel (S. n. subauratus)
  • Eastern fox squirrel (S. n. vulpinus)

Human Vs. Fox Squirrel Size Comparison

fox squirrel size comparison: red squirrel, grey squirrel
A full-grown fox squirrel can be as long as a human arm!

While the fox squirrel may be one of the larger squirrels around, especially in North America where they are the largest tree squirrel, you don’t need to worry about them outsizing you any time soon. 

At their largest, a fox squirrel will just be a little bit longer than your forearm (from your fingertips from your elbows). Their tail is around the same length, making a fox squirrel from nose to the very tip of their bushy tail around the same length as your arm. This is true for the Delmarva fox squirrel, but some subspecies may be a bit smaller, closer to the length of your forearm alone. 

While a fox squirrel can be up to nearly 3 feet long in length when on all fours, you won’t find them even as tall as two feet standing up. A while ago, a picture circulated that had many wondering if a fox squirrel could be as large as a human one-year-old, but experts helped explain that the height and the length of a fox squirrel have a large difference – mostly because of their long, bushy tail!

When it comes to weight, fox squirrels don’t measure up to even a baby. After all, with the average newborn weighing 7.5 pounds, they’re over double the weight of even the largest of fox squirrels. 

However, while the fox squirrel may not be able to compare to a human in size, as the largest tree squirrel in North America, do you know how they’ll measure up to some of the other most common squirrels around?

Grey Squirrel Vs. Fox Squirrel Size

Size is one of the few distinguishing features between grey squirrels and fox squirrels.

©Bruce MacQueen/

The state animal for North Carolina, grey squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis) are another large species of squirrel. While they’re larger than other species, like the red squirrel also included in this fox squirrel size comparison, you’ll notice that their size is next to nut-thing compared to the fox squirrel. 

At their largest, with the tail included, grey squirrels can grow up to 20 inches long. That’s a mere 10-inch difference between the largest grey squirrel and the largest fox squirrel – around the same length as a sheet of paper. As for the smallest adult fox squirrels, they’re around the same size.

If you were to place them on a scale, however, it could take as many as three grey squirrels to balance the scale with a fox squirrel.

Grey squirrels and fox squirrels have the same minimum tail length of around 8 inches. However, while grey squirrels max out around 10 inches, fox squirrels can have a tail up to 13 inches. That’s over one foot long!

Despite these differences, grey squirrels are one of the most common fox squirrel imposters. The best way to tell the difference is by coloration, as fox squirrels have a rust-colored belly compared to the white-bellied grey squirrels. 

Red Squirrel Vs. Fox Squirrel Size

Red Squirrel sitting with nut
Red squirrels are one of the smallest squirrels.

©Menno Schaefer/

Of all the squirrels in North America, red squirrels can be easily identified by their smaller size compared to larger species like the grey squirrel or the fox squirrel. A common critter in Europe and Asia, the red squirrel population is just beginning to recover after the introduction of grey squirrels, which are invasive. 

At a maximum weight of only 12 ounces, it can take as many as nearly six red squirrels to weigh the same as the much larger fox squirrel. Even at their maximum weight, it’ll take four red squirrels to balance the scale. 

At their longest nose to tail length, red squirrels usually reach a limit of around 17 inches, with almost half of that made up of their tail. At their smallest adult size, they’re only around a foot long. When comparing the smallest red squirrel and the largest of the large fox squirrels, you’ll find that it can take up to three red squirrels standing nose to tail tip to be as long as the fox squirrel. 

The red squirrel has other aspects that make it special beyond its small size compared to the fox squirrel as well. In fact, the most distinguishing feature of the red squirrel is their ear tufts, which can be up to 2 inches tall – the same as two paperclips. 

The Featured Image

squirrel eating a nut
Nuts provide a perfect mix of protein and fat to support squirrels during the winter.

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About the Author

I'm a writer with almost five years of experience. I graduated from Wingate University with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a double minor in biology and professional and technical writing. I love everything animals and nature related! The American kestrel is my favorite animal, but I also like sharks and alligators. In my free time, I like to watch documentaries and explore nature.

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