Okefenokee Cat Squirrels

Squirrel on a branch in the Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, Stephen C Foster Georgia State Park. March 16, 2019. ©www.williamwisephoto.com

Excerpt from Francis Harper’s Mammals of the Okefinokee Swamp, published March 1927 concerning the Eastern Gray Squirrel:

“In the Okefinokee, as in many other parts of the south, this very common species is always distinguished by the name of ‘Cat Squirrel’. The squalling note of the squirrel is one that the Billy’s Island boys love to imitate, and they do it to perfection. I heard it with particular frequency while paddling down the St. Mary’s in August. The inhabitants are fond of hunting Cat Squirrels, and prize the flash for the table. The hounds often lend their aid in locating the animals. Some years ago three of the Chesser boys went on an overnight squirrel hunt along the St. Mary’s River east of Chesser Island, and bagged about 40 individuals without the help of dogs. In 1921 David Lee remark that in former days he could go along the edge of the hammock on Billy‘s Island and readily secure all the Cat Squirrels his folks could eat. But since the establishment of the lumber camp nearby, the squirrels have disappeared from the hammock.”


  1. Cat (Gray) Squirrels were an important food source for many southerners during the depression years. My grandmother told me stories about her father hunting squirrels in the once vast wooded banks of the St. Johns River in pre-depression years; not that they were needy at the time but simply because they enjoyed eating them. A washtub full of the little rodents was the norm for a hunt back then. I cut my teeth hunting squirrels as a lad with my single shot 22 rifle. Wonderful memories.

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