Community Connection           July 24, 2015

A Surprise Visitor

On Sunday evening, June 12, several residents leaving by the Waterford back gate spied a strange creature. It appeared to be a monkey, or monkey-like face with a long furry tail. One of the residents recognized it as a monkey squirrel. Ever hear of a monkey squirrel?

Unknown outside of Florida, the monkey squirrel, also called a fox squirrel, are quite rare because of their reclusive nature and their choice of habitat. Unlike the gray squirrels familiar to any urban  back yard, the secretive monkey squirrels are very picky about where they'll live. They like  areas that have open spaces, oak hammocks and longleaf pines. They eat mostly pine seeds.

Monkey squirrels are more than twice the size of the common gray squirrel and can weigh up to two pounds. Their most pronounced feature is their faces. These squirrels have black faces with white around the nose on reddish brown bodies. The monkey-like appearance of their face is what gives them their name.

Whether this Sunday evening visitor was just an overnight guest or chooses to take up permanent residence at Eagle Creek remains to be seen. But to catch a glimpse of this rare and endangered species was, no doubt, a sight to behold.