CHARLOTTE, NC (Mark Price/Charlotte Observer) - North Carolinians have come to expect rattlesnakes, bears, alligators and possibly even Bigfoot in wooded areas, but state wildlife officials posted images this month of a lesser known oddity that is just as startling: A 2-foot-tall squirrel.
The photos were captured by camera traps in Robeson County, and reaction on Facebook can be summed up by commenter Ruth Bergstein of Greensboro: “He’s huge!”
State officials identified the animal as a fox squirrel that was likely 26 inches tall (not counting its tail) and weighed nearly 3 pounds.
Fox squirrels are found in the dense pine-oak forests of southeastern North Carolina, according to NCWidlife.org. They’re not known for biting people -- as long as they’re left alone, say state wildlife officials.
Fox squirrels are only “occasionally” seen by people, and those sightings are typically in the sandhills and Coastal Plain, according to wildlife officials.
Hunters have long been familiar with the species, but state biologists are now learning more about them through a camera trap program that is collecting photos of creatures in the remote areas of all 100 counties.