The Black Squirrels… are following me around the world?

25Apr08

According to the Daily Mail, a pack of black squirrels have invaded Cambridgeshire. This is especially amusing for me because black squirrels are a favourite curiosity among students at Stanford. It appears the little guys have followed me to the UK.

The Daily Mail article calls the black squirrels a “mutation” of the grey squirrel that causes an overproduction of black pigment. The article does its best to conjure up images of Tokein’s evil ‘mutant’ Uruk-hai orcs, claiming that the squirrels appear to be more aggresive, but the main point is that they’re different phenotypes of the same species of squirrel. (“It doesn’t matter if you’re black or grey.”) This has to have a life lesson somehwhere in it.

… of course, the squirrels’ hijinks were well documented back in Stanford.

Anyway, I should probably note that the grey squirrels themselves are a North American export that made it to the UK in the 19th century. (“An American Grey Squirrel in England?”) Apparently they have been a threat to the native red squirrel because the American squirrels are ravenous eaters and out-breed the British squirrels. This, also, has to have a life lesson somewhere in it.

Finally, if the black squirrels are indeed another animal invasion to the UK, they won’t be the only ones of recent times.

Update: My officemate Dave tells me that American Grey squirrels are also carriers of squirrel pox. While the greys have developed an immunity, the red squirrels are particularly susceptible.



One Response to “The Black Squirrels… are following me around the world?”

  1. I LIVE IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA AND WE SEE ALOT OF BLACK SQUIRRELS IN BURKE VA IN FAIRFAX COUNTY ONLY THE LAST FEW YEARS I HAVE BEEN SEENING THEM ABOUT 4 OR 5 YEARS THANKS



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