We have black and gray squirrels in our yard. Everyone does. The only rodent that is missing is the chipmunk. We are probably too far into suburbia for them to show up. We see them in the park behind our house, but not in our yard. Below is a short video capture of a baby back squirrel that has already learned to check the cat bowls.
Wikipedia says this about squirrels:
“Black squirrels are a subgroup of squirrels with black coloration on their fur. The phenomenon occurs with several species of squirrels, although it is most frequent with the eastern gray squirrel and the fox squirrel. Black morphs of the eastern gray and fox squirrels are the result of an abnormal pigment gene. Several theories have surfaced as to why the black morph occurs, with some suggesting that the black morph is a selective advantage for squirrels inhabiting the northern ranges of the species, with the black-fur providing a thermal advantage over its non-melanistic counterpart.
Black squirrels share the same natural range as their non-melanistic counterparts. In addition to their natural range, black morphs of eastern gray squirrels were also introduced into other areas of Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States during the 19th and 20th centuries. Black morphs of eastern gray squirrels occur most frequently in the northern portion of its range around the Great Lakes Basin. Conversely, black morphs of fox squirrels typically occur most frequently in the southeastern portions of the species’ natural range, the southeastern United States. Although they are found more frequently in those regions, the coloration remains uncommon in most areas that these species inhabit. However, black morphs of eastern gray squirrels forms the majority of the species’ population in the Canadian province of Ontario, and the U.S. state of Michigan.
Several municipalities and post-secondary schools in the United States have adopted a black squirrel for branding purposes, using it as a symbol and/or mascot. Some municipalities that have adopted the black squirrels as a symbol for their community have also passed ordinances that discourage attempts to threaten them.”
Above: not such a frequent visitor: grey squirrel
The main characteristic of the squirrels of either colour is in their level of activity. There hardly ever is a quiet moment in their day. They are always running, jumping and: fleeing from predators. My heart always cringes when I see one flattened by a car on our busy roads. But you can hardly fault the drivers, because the squirrel has a type of halting way of running, that looks as if it will wait for the car to pass before crossing. And then decides to go for it. And become roadkill. I guess this is a ‘natural’ part of suburban living…
This gray furry friend was almost caught by Mitsy. He was not pleased and he is letting his protests be heard!!