Saturday, October 31, 2009

Black and Grey Living Together in Harmony

Non-existent black squirrel
You see black squirrels all over the place, right? But here's something you probably never knew about black squirrels.

There's no such thing as black squirrels. Hah!

Black squirrels are just a colour variant of grey squirrels (or if you're American: a color variant of gray squirrels). There's no difference between them other than their colour, with grey squirrel couples able to produce entire litters of black-tinted offspring. It's believed that before European settlement in North America the blacks were dominant, since black blends in better with the dark of a forest. Nowadays, grey squirrels outnumber their black brothers by a factor of about 10,000 to 1. Black squirrels do, however, dominate in the Northeast, probably because their darker coats help to absorb heat in the winter.

Both images taken at Rosetta McClain Gardens. Click here for a post on red squirrels.

Grey squirrel, Toronto photographer Robert Rafton