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What to know about Central Park squirrels - Metro US

What to know about Central Park squirrels

Emotional support animals
A squirrel in the sun. 
Getty

If you’ve ever wondered how many squirrels there are in Central Park, don’t worry, The Central Park Squirrel Census has got you covered. 

The Central Park Squirrel Census was performed by 323 volunteers dubbed the “Squirrel Sighters.” They recently revealed that Central Park is home to 2,373 Eastern Grey Squirrels. The census started collecting data on the critters in October of 2018. The sighters included members of The Explorers Club, NYU Department of Environmental Studies, Macaulay Honors College, the Central Park Conservancy, and New York City Department of Parks & Recreation.

The census focused on eastern grey squirrels, since they are the only species of squirrel found in New York City. 

The New York Department of Parks and Recreation says that although eastern grey squirrels are primarily grey, others in the city may be darker grey, black, brown or even rusty in color. 

Eastern grey squirrels may be cute, but the New York Department of Parks and Recreation suggests keeping your distance, as they are known to bite humans. NYC officials also warn that residents keep their windows closed, as the animals aren’t shy about setting up shop in apartments.

And, know this: Do not feed the squirrels.  

Officials stated that “Squirrels are very capable of finding their next meal, and can even store extra food away to eat later. Handouts can endanger squirrels by causing them to lose their ability to search for their own food.” 

It’s rare that these squirrels carry rabies and transmit them to humans. 

The Parks and Recreation office also noted that squirrels maybe only live three to five years in the city, but can live up to ten in rural areas. 

For more information the Central Park Squirrel Census, you can purchase the study online, for $75.  The multimedia story includes a map of the park, an audio report compiled by sighters, postcards, baseball cards, and more. 

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