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Old May 21, 2002, 01:18 AM   #1
DadOfThree
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Black Squirrels?

I have lived in Indiana most of my life but just recently moved to Upland, a small town in north central Indiana. The town has a couple of thousand people in it if you include Taylor University. The town has 2 or 3 smal parks with lots of nut trees and a lot of Walnut and Oak trees scattered through town. What is really odd is the number of black squirrels in the town. They are not dark gray but a silky, ebony black. Probably a third of the squirrels in town are like this. The rest are mostly grays and a few fox squirrels. I grew up only 35 miles from here and have hunted central Indiana quite a bit but have never seen a population like this. Does anyone here know if this is a seperate species or just an anomaly that keeps being rebred back into the local critters. I wouldn't mind taking a couple next season and mounting them but I don't know for sure if they are legal to take. I believe the Indiana hunting regs refer to grays and fox squirrels specifically. Any info would be appreciated. Thanks.
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Old May 21, 2002, 05:39 AM   #2
sjc1
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The black colored squirrel is a melanistic variety of the gray squirrel. I have noticed an increase in the number of black squirrels in the area where I live. It seems to me, an unscientific observation, that this melanistic occurrence may have a dominant factor.
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Old May 21, 2002, 10:45 AM   #3
dZ
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i think the black squirrels are more easily targeted by hawks,
as they work the treelines

fewer raptors means the black squirrels are able to survive and breed

there is a colony of black squirrels in NW DC
they did dominate the areas tree rat population
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Old May 22, 2002, 01:54 PM   #4
scotjute
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I've killed 2 or 3 of them in north Louisiana on my grandfather's farm years ago. We always considered them to be black "fox" squirrels as their size and shape and habitat was more like that of a regular fox squirrel except they were black. Don't know if they're the same thing you're seeing up there?
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Old May 22, 2002, 04:46 PM   #5
Al Thompson
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FWIW, about ten years ago a buddy of mine at Ft. Benning got to where he would look for different color variations. IIRC, black wasn't that uncommon, he killed several that had some strange markings.
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Old May 23, 2002, 03:44 AM   #6
Dave McC
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Black squirrels are occuring frequently in the populations in and near Gaithersburg, Md. I've seen them as far away as Highland, and Olney seems to have them as the dominant phase.

FWIW, an unsubstantiated story has the black phase gene linked to one that causes a slightly larger size, so the black males win the breeding battles more often.
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Old May 23, 2002, 07:27 AM   #7
kindlyoldcoach
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Aww, crap. I thought only we had them.

Downtown parks in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, are full of black squirrels. The grounds of the National Research Council there positively SEETHE with them.

I've been told they're a variation of the gray squirrel.

Whatever they are, they're certainly tactical-looking. They probably chitter call signs to each other...

'coach
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Old May 23, 2002, 09:37 AM   #8
scotjute
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Tactical Squirrels!!
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Old May 23, 2002, 09:43 AM   #9
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Tactical Squirrels, quite true. And have you seen them in there mall ninja tree walking boots? Those cats are amazing!
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Old May 23, 2002, 02:42 PM   #10
Guyon
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There's also a white variety. I know because we have one living in our back yard. You can read about the white squirrels here: http://tornado.brevard.edu/whitesquirrel/

I feed birds (and unwillingly, squirrels) in the the back, and this guy sits up on my tray feeder a lot and scarfs down sunflower seeds. Because he sticks out like a sore thumb, I fear for his safety. Just yesterday, a big cooper's hawk lit in a tree above him in my neighbor's back yard. Had it not been for the bluejays that chased off the hawk, the white squirrel might have been supper.
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Old May 23, 2002, 08:45 PM   #11
Al Thompson
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There's alway's someone who dosen't get the word..

Guyon, that's a Tactical Squirrel who has yet to change from his Snow Squirrel BDUs into the uniform of the day..
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Old May 23, 2002, 10:06 PM   #12
dZ
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The interaction between black squirrel towns is civil and downright cooperative,
compared to the heated fracas between the albinos. Black squirrels can be found
in many areas mixed with other squirrels, but only a few towns practice Black
Squirrel boosterism. Three municipalities at one time aggressively boasted
pure black squirrel populations, but the number has shrunk to two, and soon
only one may remain.

Council Bluffs, IA, has had black squirrels since at least the 1840s. It also has
other things to brag about besides squirrels. It lacks the fanatical eugenics
policies of the white squirrel towns and, as a consequence, its black squirrel
population is slowly disappearing through miscegenation.

Marysville, KS, bills itself as Home of the Black Squirrels and it deserves
to. The town has named the black squirrel its official mascot, and holds an
annual Black Squirrel Celebration. In 1987, the "Black Squirrel Song" became
Marysville's official anthem

http://www.roadsideamerica.com/set/squirrels.html
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Old May 24, 2002, 07:35 AM   #13
Art Eatman
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There are almost-black (or dark, dark gray) squirrels in western Central Texas; dunno the official name, but I grew up with "rock squirrels". They den in burrows in the ground. Was surprised to find them in the desert around Terlingua.

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