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Tree squirrels are the members of the squirrel family (Sciuridae) commonly just referred to as "squirrels". They include over a hundred arboreal species native to all continents except Antarctica and Australia. They do not form a single natural, or monophyletic group; they are related to others in the squirrel family, including ground squirrels, flying squirrels, marmots, and chipmunks. The defining characteristic used to determine which species of Sciuridae are tree squirrels is dependent on their habitat rather than their physiology. Tree squirrels live mostly among trees, as opposed to those that live in burrows in the ground or among rocks. An exception is the flying squirrel that also makes its home in trees, but has a physiological distinction separating it from its tree squirrel cousins: special flaps of skin called patagia, acting as glider wings, which allows gliding flight.

Sciurus carolinensis, common name eastern gray squirrel or grey squirrel depending on region, is a tree squirrel in the genus Sciurus. It is native to eastern North America, where it is the most prodigious and ecologically essential natural forest regenerator.

Albino and white squirrels

One of the ways that squirrels impact human society is inspired by the fascination that people seem to have over local populations of white squirrels (often misidentified as being albino). This manifests itself by the creation of social group communities that form from a commonly shared interest in these rare animals. Other impacts on human society inspired by white squirrels include the creation of organizations that seek to protect them from human predation, and the use of the white squirrel image as a cultural icon.

Although these squirrels are commonly referred to as "albinos", most of them are likely non-albino squirrels that exhibit a rare white fur coloration known as leucism that is as a result of a recessive gene found within certain Eastern gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) populations, and so technically they ought to be referred to as white squirrels, instead of albino.

White squirrel, Boston Common

Photo 16, May 2017

White squirrel, Boston Common

Photo 15, May 2017

White squirrel, Boston Common

Photo 17, May 2017

Grey squirrel, Plains of Abraham

Grey squirrels tend to be black colored in the northern climates. Ones with red tails such as this are not uncommon.

Photo 139, Québec City, June 2014

Grey squirrel in Museum Gardens, York UK

Photo 398, May 2010

Grey squirrel

Kittery, Photo sq1, Mar 2020

Grey squirrel

Kittery, Photo sq2, Mar 2020

Grey squirrel

Kittery, Photo sq3, Mar 2020

Grey squirrel

Kittery, Photo sq4, Mar 2020

Grey squirrel eating bread on porch

Kittery, Photo 0236, Apr 2020

Grey squirrel eating bread on porch

Kittery, Photo 0237, Apr 2020

Grey squirrel eating a pizza slice

Kittery, Photo 0244, Apr 2020

Grey squirrel

Kittery, Photo 0258, Apr 2020

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