Talk:Black squirrel

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Killed a dog[edit]

I heard that black squirrels attacked and killed a dog. Is this true? racooon

Yes. BBC News story. Although I expect such attacks can occur with grey squirrels. AstroMark 10:09, 19 October 2007 (UTC)


Campuses[edit]

Is it really necessary to list all the college campuses where black squirrels can be found? Most of these place listings should be deleted (Haverford and Kent State seem to be the only legitimate noteworthy cases--Haverford because of the mascot, and Kent State because of black squirrel day.)

I don't see what the problem is, there's plenty of room. Besides, I've always liked the black squirrels in East Lansing, MI when I went to school there in the early to mid 70s. I've even seen a few of them in West Lansing, outside their normal range. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 66.87.4.94 (talk) 05:09, 4 March 2013 (UTC)

I created the mascot section a long time ago because this article was endlessly being hijacked by people who think that their town or college is the only place with black squirrels. If you delete the section, people will start bombarding the article again. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.36.245.241 (talk) 23:33, 30 September 2015 (UTC)

Black squirrels in Minnesota[edit]

We have Black Squirrels in Saint Francis, Minnesota I we live on acrage and one day the girls and I were looking out the window and there we have two that always play and chase each other. They don't appear to get along well with the Grey Squirrels. They always chase them away from what they think is only their yard.

tmhemmeter


Jefferson City, Missouri[edit]

There are a few black squirrels living in the wooded creek area behind my apartment building in eastern Jefferson City. Had never heard of or seen a black squirrel until I moved here in January 2005, saw one right away. This spring I saw 5 at one time (3 adults and 2 smaller ones), hard to see them now with all the leaves. I've tried several times to photograph them but I don't have enough zoom to get a good picture. The greys seem to tolerate them; I've seen them chasing the blacks around but it usually looks like play or mating because the black will get away and wait for them to catch up. They will forage without bothering each other. Greys probably outnumber them in this creek area 5 or 10 to 1.

Rhowser 23:25, 10 September 2007 (UTC)

Princeton, NJ[edit]

I think the whole "habitat" section of this article is ridiculous. Black squirrels are everywhere; isn't the black coat just a recessive trait in certain populations of gray squirrels? (Like redheads are for humans.) That said, black squirrels are everywhere on the Princeton campus. Growing up around there, you'd hear an urban legend that they were imported from China, used in lab experiments, and then freed. I always thought that sounded cockamamy, but there are hundreds of people in the Princeton area, including my dad, who will say it's true (based on zero evidence). —Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.189.26.91 (talk) 19:07, 25 September 2007 (UTC)

Interesting how urban legends go. I was on campus twenty years ago, and I'd never heard the China story. I wonder if each generation develops its own legend--China is on our minds now, thus, the squirrels are from China. In the 80s, Princeton was (and I assume still is) very Anglophilic, and one rumor was the squirrels had been imported from Oxford to make Princeton look all the more like the British icon. Another story, which seemed to make more sense, was that black squirrels were a different species of squirrel from grays that thrived only in heavily wooded places (their dark coats better camouflaged them in the shadows), thus their likelihood of living on college campuses, which were generally more tree-filled than the surrounding landscape. I'm surprised that they're supposed to be just darker-coated grays, since their bodies are generally smaller and their tails are less fluffy. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 71.105.107.85 (talk) 17:40, 9 October 2007 (UTC)

I like the theory of generations reinventing their urban myths, but I got my China story at the same time you got your Oxford story--I was growing up in Princeton in the 70s and 80s. Maybe it's a townie/college thing!

Brooklyn, NY[edit]

There are black squirrels in Brooklyn, too. But that's because there are black squirrels all over the place. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.189.26.91 (talk) 19:18, 25 September 2007 (UTC)

here, there, everywhere[edit]

Okay, we get the point that black squirrels are known in many places. Is there any good reason to have a list of such places? I'm going to remove them, and mark the article as a stub (if it isn't already so marked). If some populations of black squirrels are particularly notable, let's discuss them. —Tamfang 06:54, 7 October 2007 (UTC)

Merger proposal[edit]

Since this article is a stub and there is clearly nothing remarkably different between a black squirrel and grey squirrel (aside from the colour of fur) I suggest merging the articles. AstroMark 10:56, 19 October 2007 (UTC)

I agree wholeheartedly. Doodle-doo Ħ 16:04, 2 December 2007 (UTC)

I disagree, just this morning while deer hunting, I observed Fox Squirrels, Eastern Gray Squirrels and Black Squirrels. I had not noticed Black Squirrels before and that is why I looked at your page, I wanted to learn more about them. From my observations this morning, I do not believe that the black squirrel is a melenistic variation of the Eastern Gray Squirrel. The behavior, size and body movement of these black squirrels were similar to the Fox Squirrels and were not the same as the Eastern Gray Squirrel. I believe it is a seperate species from what I observed this morning. What reference do you have that the black squirrel is a melanistic variation to the Eastern Gray Squirrel? Michael —Preceding unsigned comment added by 70.234.109.42 (talk) 20:20, 22 December 2007 (UTC)

OK, admittedly I don't know for sure whether black squirrels are a separate species or not. If anyone knows more than please add it to the article. An article which just lists where these squirrels have been spotted is not encyclopaedic in my opinion. AstroMark (talk) 17:09, 5 January 2008 (UTC)

Disagree, don't merge. Black squirrels may not be classified as separate through phylogenetic nomenclature (I honestly have no idea), but they are certainly distinct enough in the popular eye to merit an article. There is enough that has been written about the black squirrels of Kent State University alone to establish notability. -- JeffBillman (talk) 03:40, 28 March 2008 (UTC)

But if we're going to keep it as a separate page then it at least needs to be more encyclopaedic rather than just a list of places where black squirrels have been spotted. AstroMark (talk) 17:35, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
I agree, a list of places where they've merely been spotted violates notability. Still, I think you'd have to agree that, in places like Kent, Ohio and London, Ontario, to say that black squirrels "have been spotted" is to make an understatement of magnitude similar to a statement like, "Groundhogs have been spotted in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania." The connection of animal to place goes far beyond that of merely an occasional sighting. -- JeffBillman (talk) 18:09, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
And yet the page on groundhogs makes no mention of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. AstroMark (talk) 19:17, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
It does now. ;-) I found that claim surprising, so I went to check. I don't know when it was added, but the groundhog article does indeed mention Punxsutawney... as it should, IMO. -- JeffBillman (talk) 19:38, 5 October 2008 (UTC)

Here's something about black squirrels that looks reasonable.[edit]

http://chicagowildernessmag.org/issues/summer2005/squirrels.html —Preceding unsigned comment added by 198.185.164.128 (talk) 20:45, 14 February 2008 (UTC)


Expert help needed I think![edit]

I think this article needs some attention from someone who knows what they're talking about- though I'm grateful to contributors so far for making a start. Incidentally, I saw several black squirrels in Slovenia, but aside from their colour they looked more like European red squirrels than American grey squirrels. Melanised red squirrels could also be an explanation for the sighting in Germany. This small web page may shed a small amout of light on the matter: http://www.forestresearch.gov.uk/fr/INFD-6HTK9B 82.30.251.38 (talk) 15:20, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

Hear, hear. This article is in dire need of help. Black squirrels are melanic individuals of any of several species, including the gray and the fox. The term "subgroup" has no meaning in zoology in the apparent sense used here. That gray squirrels were mostly black at the time of European settlement is not in the cited reference, and seems highly unlikely. MayerG (talk) 02:16, 31 January 2012 (UTC)

Brought into the US from Canada[edit]

Black Squirrels were brought into the US from Canada. Smithsonian Institure in Washington state may have been the first to do so in 1904 I think... Just do a search and you may find your answer there. I have just went to Dover Ohio and have pictures of 2 of them. Originated from Kent University and spread I guess. They are beautiful in color and a very shiny coat. They are not variations of our grey squirrels according to an article on internet and I do not remember where I saw this at on internet.. I have not seen them in North Carolina where I live at yet, but, wish we had some....Dougie17 (talk) 04:32, 9 September 2008 (UTC)


Symbol and Mascot[edit]

It is clear that the black squirrel is almost as important as a symbol and mascot for certain places as it is an interesting sub-variety of the eastern grey squirrel. I've created a section headed 'symbol and mascot' where information on towns and colleges which celebrate their black squirrels can be placed. This keeps that information separated from habitat and populations information without eliminating it. I hope other users find this helpful. Pocklecod (talk) 03:49, 8 January 2009 (UTC)Pocklecod


Washington DC[edit]

Removed some info today where someone tried to piggy-back Washington DC into a cited list of places where Black Squirrels are dominant (though DC was not referenced in the citation - pretty sneaky). It's pretty clear from the frequent attempts to include DC in this article that there are a lot of black squirrels there. Could someone please find some cited information on the DC population so we don't keep having this battle? Pocklecod (talk) 17:22, 13 February 2009 (UTC)Pocklecod

I have now dug up some info on Washington D.C. squirrels and included it in the article to help with this situation. Pocklecod (talk) 23:43, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

The black squirrels of Washington, D.C., enjoy a measure of renown among population biologists, in part because they can easily and definitively be traced to one ancestral population. In parts of town, particularly around the introduction point (which has a lot of oak trees), they're very common. --Piledhigheranddeeper (talk) 15:45, 11 April 2011 (UTC)

Black red squirrels[edit]

Black/melanistic varieties of the red squirrel also exist. I have seen one in Paradise Park zoo in UK. IceDragon64 (talk) 11:01, 29 April 2009 (UTC)


Heat gain/loss[edit]

I question the notion that black makes an overall advantage by absorbing more heat from the sun, as black also radiates more heat in the cold of winter when there is less sun and the animals are more in danger of losing heat. IceDragon64 (talk) 11:03, 29 April 2009 (UTC)

That information is drawn from a highly reliable source. Until equally reliable research surfaces to support your point, the information will have to stay as it is. Pocklecod(talk) 17:49, 13 May 2009 (UTC)

That link doesn't say anything about *why* they lose less heat, just that they do. For all we know black fur may be bushier, after all the wording is "lower heat loss", not higher heat gain. Such tests would have to be done in a laboratory with the sunlight simulated. If the explanation really is absorption of sunlight, it seems remarkable that there's no mention it. I've changed the text to reflect what is actually supported by the source. I've also removed the suggestion that black squirrels survive due to needing less food to replace lost heat. A well-fed animal can die of hypothermia. It seems a bit of a stretch to conclude the mechanism is starvation due to increased metabolic rate.

black squirrels[edit]

I live in Fertile, Minnesota, I first noticed a balck squirrel in my yard in town 3 years ago. I was very interested, because I had never heard of one before. The next year I didn't see any. I did hear about one a few blocks over. Last year one was back in my neighborhood. This year there is a female that had a nest in a tree in my yard. She has 3 black and 2 gray in the litter. Is that possible? They seam to get along quite well, Chasing and playing together. All eating together out of my feeders. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 64.235.82.31 (talk) 00:47, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

A mixed litter is possible. I have included a new, referenced line in the main article which notes this interesting fact. Pocklecod (talk) 23:41, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

Minnesota Black Squirrel Population Growing[edit]

Just an addition to some info already posted. Nisswa Minnesota boasts a large population of black squirrels. They are areas of roughly 50% grey 50% blacks. These populations mingle freely and seem to cohabitate well with one another showing no marked preference for company of one color or another. They feed freely together and play freely as well as fight and chase without obvious preference. In fact theses numbers have grown and spread in the past 15 years. I have also spotted a dozen or more in the past two years in a wooded/pond area South of Bemidji MN. Always in the same 1/4 mile stretch of travel. Charmaine

July 6, 2009 —Preceding unsigned comment added by 69.21.229.50 (talk) 15:46, 6 July 2009 (UTC)

Forest Lake, Minnesota has had a large population of black squirrels for the past five years.

WE LIVE IN MICHIGAN CITY INDIANA. RIGHT NEXT TO LAKE MICHIGAN. WE HAVE SEEN NUMEROUS BLACK SQUIRRELS IN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD AND THROUGHOUT THE TOWN. LAKE MICHIGAN CAN GO TO EXTREME TEMPS, AND WE EXPERIANCE WINTER LIKE CONDITIONS AZROUND 9 MONTHS OF THE YEAR. THUS I THINK THEY HAVE EVOLVED INTO THE BLACK COLORING TO KEEP THE FROM HEAT LOSS. THEY ARE VERY PLAYFUL BUT TEND TO "FIGHT" WITH THE "NORMAL"(GREY AND RED) SQUIRRALS THAT ALSO INHABIT THE SAME NEIGHBORHOODS.Eva70 (talk) 18:40, 21 December 2009 (UTC)

Black Squirrels in Orangevale, CA[edit]

My property backs up to a small greenbelt with running water and oak trees. I also have oaks on my property. I've lived here 5 years and the black squirrel population has increased slowly. I saw one or two in 2005 and regularly see half a dozen or so now. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 98.238.132.143 (talk) 18:51, 30 January 2010 (UTC)

killing fox squirrels?[edit]

this article states in the habitat section that black squirrels will kill baby fox squirrels will kill baby fox squirrels. I am going to delete this, because it has no citation, it is in the wrong section, and even if it is true it would probably be true of all grey squirrels, not determined by coloration. also, this article needs a taxobox. Michael1115 (talk) 16:37, 12 July 2010 (UTC)

Unless there is good evidence that it is specifically melanistic Sciurus carolinensis that eat baby fox squirrels (highly unlikely), I agree with you.
I don't think the article should have a taxobox, though: this is just a color morph, not a taxonomic entity. Ucucha 16:41, 12 July 2010 (UTC)

Just wanted to make a note that there is a population of about two dozen Black squirrels in Prestonsburge Kentucky at the BSCTC campus. It is quickly growing.

Contradictory information about the possibility of two grey squirrels producing a black offspring[edit]

In this BBC article (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-11444893), Dr Thomas of Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge states that "[t]wo grey squirrels cannot produce black-furred offspring, just as blue-eyed parents cannot have a brown-eyed baby[.] You need to have a black-furred parent to produce black offspring." This statement directly contradicts the information in Wikipedia from the Masslive.com article. In that article, Marion E. Larson, a wildlife biologist with the state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, is paraphrased as saying [...] when two grays mate, the offspring can occasionally be black. Did Masslive.com journalist simply misunderstand/misquote or is there some academic disagreement on the issue? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 75.128.151.96 (talk) 17:09, 9 October 2010 (UTC)

That's based on a misunderstanding of genetics. It is not true that two blue-eyed parents cannot have a brown-eyed baby. There are multiple genes involved. For details see http://genetics.thetech.org/how-blue-eyed-parents-can-have-brown-eyed-children Similarly, the black squirrel actually has two different mutations and the black color is incompletely dominant, so occasionally two grey squirrels produce a black offspring. In my own family tree, which has deep blue-eyed blond-haired Norwegian Viking roots, one of my aunts, who was blue-eyed but came from a Scottish background, made the patriarch of the clan very upset because she had the first brown-eyed baby in the family's history. That was bad enough, but her next baby had one blue and one brown eye. Figure out the genetics behind that.RockyMtnGuy (talk) 19:14, 4 July 2017 (UTC)

Seems like an Urban Myth[edit]

Why do so many stories regarding Black Squirrels include an escaped population? "They got here because so-and-so brought them over from such-and-such for a zoo in the 1920's and they escaped." The origins of black squirrel populations have so many similarities across the board, that it makes me suspect that this is an urban myth. I can't believe there is so much unreliable information on this species/subspecies. Seems like most of the information on this page is based on hearsay. Why is it so hard to figure out if this is a separate species or just a color variation of a grey squirrel? I would suggest changing the entire distribution section of this article, its too specific. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Chaoboy (talkcontribs) 16:42, 10 December 2010 (UTC)

Two comments. First, as the page notes, black squirrels are the same species as the Eastern Gray Squirrel. The info cited for this statement here is quite reliable, and I have never seen anything saying the opposite. So, you can count on that issue being solved. Second, I think there is a good chance you're right about the urban legend thing. About two years ago I more or less personally redesigned this page because, when I first visited, almost 90% of the content on the page was about Kent Ohio. Living in Ontario, I can see with my own two eyes that the majority of squirrels in my back yard are black, not Gray, leading me to believe that Black Squirrels are not unique to Kent. The problem, however, came in trying to adjust the page to reflect this reality. The thing is that people from all over the Northeast and southern Canada have somehow gotten the idea that their own town is the only place, or one of the few, where there are black squirrels. This is absolutely untrue as black squirrels are common all over the region, and are often in the majority. To this day, however, people STILL keep coming to this page to post, with no citation, that there are black squirrels in their home towns, EVEN when they live in states which have already been mentioned on this page as having large populations. To try and split the difference, I decided to create a section where people could make mention of certain introduced populations, with a citation. The population in the southern UK is a good example of this kind of thing. In the end, without this kind of setup, this page would simply be a constant stream of people listing their hometown until every single town and city in all of Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Ontario, Quebec, etc. is listed. The best solution to this that I could come up with was basically to say, "We get it...there are black squirrels in your town...if there is something special about the population, and you can give evidence for it, go ahead and post it. If not, don't turn this into a big list of sightings." That seems to be working okay, though not perfectly. But, if there are better solutions out there, I'd love to hear about them. 24.36.72.184 (talk) 17:06, 1 February 2011 (UTC)Pocklecod
I don't know about other cities, but I do know that the black squirrels in Calgary are descended from six black squirrels that were brought into the zoo from Toronto in 1929. Prior to that time, Calgary had only western red squirrels, and a few northern flying squirrels. There was a flood in 1929 that inundated the zoo, and the squirrels escaped. Shortly after, the city became overrun with black squirrels, which had never been seen in western Canada before. It was kind of obvious to all the residents at the time what had happened. Somewhat later, grey squirrels began appearing, which were either new immigrants or offspring of the black squirrels. Who knows? In any case, it was obvious where the black squirrels came from, and it was also obvious that they were bigger and more aggressive than the native squirrels. I can't vouch for other cities, but I think this is the normal sort of thing that happens when mutant black squirrels escape from their cages. They were everywhere, they scared the wits out of my cat, and they obviously weren't afraid of me either. During the last flood the zoo put their lions and tigers in the city jail because they didn't want something similar to happen with them. Siberian tigers would be particularly bad in a western Canadian environment, much worse than black squirrels. Invasive species do invade if they get the chance.RockyMtnGuy (talk) 20:21, 4 July 2017 (UTC)

Black Squirrel[edit]

Just some Info. I live in a city just north of Boston. Lynn. I have two black adult squirrels and just saw a baby black this morning for the first time. I was shocked to see the sudden addition of the black squirrels to our area.It made me wonder were they came from. The are beautiful. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 174.62.226.250 (talk) 14:52, 31 March 2011 (UTC)

According to our article they used to be the dominate type, before Europeans cleared forests. Maybe with the increase of forest cover during the 20th C (since most farming is now done further west), has something to do with their "return". Green Cardamom (talk) 05:06, 27 July 2011 (UTC)

We have a Black Squirrel, in our back garden.This is in Munich,and in your article it doesnt mention Black Squirrels in Germany. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 178.26.65.96 (talk) 10:37, 13 November 2011 (UTC)

Black Squirrels in Slovenia[edit]

While taking a walk in the nature with my Slovenian friend in a place called Topol Katarina very near Ljubljana we spotted a black squirrel climbing a tree. I saw this animal quite clearly for about 4 seconds before it disappeared. I had never heard of them before & as a consequence did some research to find out about them hence this note hoping someone else has seen them as well. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 89.212.36.107 (talk) 14:26, 4 December 2011 (UTC)

yes, I saw them in Ljubljana - Tivoli park chased by dogs - and took photos. Seems other people have if you search google images. 86.153.167.97 (talk) 15:14, 20 March 2012 (UTC)

Norwalk, Ohio[edit]

Black Squirrels are abundant in Norwalk, the seat of Huron County. Musicwriter (talk) 02:17, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

Black Squirrels[edit]

I read all the blurbs on the subject, but no one from a highly wooded area in a temperate climate across the road from a cleared cattle ranch commented soooooo... There is ONE black squirrel living in a 100 year old oak across the road from me. I had never seen a BLACK squirrel before this. He is a busy little guy/girl; crosses over to my side of the road to jump from tree to tree. I knew he had to be a little unusual when a guy down the road came by just to check him out, said he had never seen one either up until now. Isn't there some animal science major out there who could give an educated assessment about the black squirrel?WeimarMom (talk) 19:10, 20 September 2012 (UTC)WeimarMom

Pittsburgh, PA[edit]

I couldn't find that anyone mentioned their in PA yet. So here is my mention. I thought i was halucinating last week when i saw one for the first time. Glad to read I really did see one. :)

9/20/12 — Preceding unsigned comment added by 74.109.216.179 (talk) 21:39, 20 September 2012 (UTC)

Coverage in UK - 'brunette squirrel'?[edit]

There was a section about black squirrels on BBC1's 'Countryfile' programme this morning (20/01/2013). They claimed that in Formby (and implied in other areas), the black squirrels had bred with red squirrels to produce what were described as 'brunette squirrels'. A photo was shown of a squirrel with a mixture of black and red hair. I have no source for this other than that it was on TV this morning but that would be an interesting addition to this article, as would more about the UK population of black squirrels in general. DewiMR (talk) 15:19, 20 January 2013 (UTC)

Distribution section - too much trivial information[edit]

This section has become a laundry-list of random cities that happen to have black squirrels. This animal isn't rare at all, and there are simply too many local populations for us to name them all. Let's avoid specific "How Anytown USA got its black squirrels" anecdotes and focus more on the animal's general distribution. 2602:306:C485:DB00:4CA3:C61B:8C64:8AC6 (talk) 21:39, 7 September 2014 (UTC)

Heh, I removed the list of towns in October 2007, but it started to grow back within a week. —Tamfang (talk) 22:10, 7 September 2014 (UTC)

dead reference/archive (Dec. 2015)[edit]

The #4 reference source ("What About Those Black Squirrels?") is now a dead link. Here's an archived copy of it if someone knows how to properly format a new citation using this archival URL instead of the now-dead original: http://web.archive.org/web/20120127202801/http://www.woodlandhabitat.com/articles/black-squirrels.htm Cheers Azx2 04:43, 7 December 2015 (UTC)

France[edit]

Not mentioned in this article but Black Squirrels exist in France. I saw them whilst snowboarding in Les Arcs. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 82.17.35.155 (talk) 07:34, 12 April 2016 (UTC)

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Black Squirrels[edit]

I have seen a black squirrel in Reno,NV. The article mentions that they are part of the gray squirrel or fox squirrel family. The one I have seen hangs out with a group of ground squirrels in our local park. So now one has been seen in western Nevada. They are a treat to look at!

Kelly2602:306:8B54:AD10:6498:4126:462D:412A (talk) 20:43, 19 July 2017 (UTC)