Sunday, April 04, 2010

Fauna watch: The elusive black squirrels of Princeton 

Princeton has a long-established population of black squirrels, which are rare outside of the northeast and even here arise in concentrations. These days there is a blog for everything, including one devoted to tracking black squirrel sightings. Consider us logged.

Black squirrel of Princeton

Now, if we could just import a breeding population of these little guys we'd be cooking with gas.


By Blogger Simon Kenton, at Sun Apr 04, 02:20:00 PM:

The Aberts squirrels of the western ponderosa forests are black. There is a large population of fox squirrels near Glynco GA that run from the standard orange-brown through piebald versions to pure melanistic variants. Yours looks like a melanistic fox squirrel (Sciurus niger, which name indicates that black variants are not uncommon).  

By Anonymous WLindsayWheeler, at Sun Apr 04, 03:01:00 PM:

Here in Battle Creek Michigan, we have a huge population of True Black Squirrels imported from Europe. We have Grays, Reds and Blacks. Ours is not a "Melanistic" variant.  

By Blogger John Cunningham, at Sun Apr 04, 03:49:00 PM:

I live in the Cincinnati suburbs, and a northside suburb, Glendale, has the black squirrel as a local icon. Apparently back in the 1930s or 40s a local who had originally come from Michigan imported a bunch of black squirrels, which increased and prospered for some years. Lately, though they seem to have vanished, possibly interbreeding with local beasts.  

By Blogger StLCard, at Sun Apr 04, 05:54:00 PM:

They are common in Stanley Park - Vancouver, BC and in Marysville, KS as well.  

By Blogger Charlottesvillain, at Sun Apr 04, 06:32:00 PM:

I can't imagine anyone actually wishing for red squirrels. They are vindictive little bastards and likely not edible.  

By Blogger Georgfelis, at Sun Apr 04, 07:32:00 PM:

Marysville Kansas has quite a few of these little critters, you have to watch out when going through town, they think they have the right of way everywhere. They're worse about hopping out in traffic without looking than college students.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Apr 04, 07:52:00 PM:

I first saw black squirrels when I moved to Arlington VA 20 years ago. I thought they were neat and mentioned them to someone. I soon found out that they were well known around here. I'm afraid your red squirrels wouldn't have much of a chance. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/05/18/AR2005051802251.html  

By Blogger TigerHawk, at Sun Apr 04, 08:47:00 PM:

Obviously, 'Villain, I was going for the black and orange motif.  

By Anonymous Blacque Jacques Shellacque, at Sun Apr 04, 09:11:00 PM:

Princeton has a long-established population of black squirrels, which are rare outside of the northeast and...

Don't know if they're truly black, but I've seen a number of tree squirrels with really dark coats around here in this part of CA. Usually the tree variety are orangeish-reddish and the ground variety are gray.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Apr 04, 09:46:00 PM:

Kent State University, Kent, Ohio imported black squirrels a number of years ago. They have spread everywhere and are common up to 20 miles from campus.  

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