The Mexican gray squirrel is a species of a tree squirrel. The fur of these squirrels is gray in color combined with a bright rufous belly. Their coloration may vary depending on location. It can be gray on the upper parts and white to orange or to deep chestnut on the under parts.
Mexican gray squirrels are native to Guatemala and eastern and southern Mexico. They have been introduced to the Florida Keys. These squirrels inhabit forested habitats including deciduous and evergreen forest, dry pine-oak woodland, secondary forest, thorn scrub, and plantations. They are most common in dry woodlands or forest, especially in those that border with agricultural areas. They also live in urban areas.
Mexican gray squirrels are diurnal and generally solitary creatures. They are mainly arboreal but come to the ground to feed or travel from tree to tree. In Mexico, however, these squirrels are known to use the forest floor year round, especially during the dry season. Mexican gray squirrels make leaf nests which they build on tree branches around 5-15 m above ground. They are territorial animals; home ranges of females are smaller than those of the males. When threatend Mexican gray squirells become agressive. They bark and move their tails forward and backward rapidly. In order to communicate with each other they produce four different vocalizations: the call of fear, call of danger, mating call and the squeal of death.
Mexican gray squirrels are mainly frugivorous. In the lowlands, they consume seeds and fruits. Acorns and pine nuts are prefferred by the highland populations. In Mexico, they eat seeds of pines, oaks, and dogwoods. In general, the diet of Mexican gray squirrels consists of mangos, green figs, jumbo plums, tamarind pods, chico zapote, and corn.
Little is known about the mating system and reproductive behavior of Mexican gray squirrels. They breed year round and females give birth to 2-4 young during a dry season.
There are no major threats to Mexican gray squirrels at present. However, in some regions, they are hunted for food or as pests as they cause damage to corn and other crops.
The IUCN Red List and other sources do not provide the Mexican gray squirrel total population size. This animal is common throughout its known range. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today remain stable.