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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Eastern Gray Squirrels

Here in Columbus, most of our eastern gray squirrels are actually gray. That wasn't so where I grew up. About half of the squirrels were jet black. This mix of squirrels was always blamed on Kent State University, a rumored epicenter for the melanistic black squirrels in Northeastern Ohio.

In our yard in Columbus, we have an abundance of gray squirrels. It seems at any time of day, I only have to look out one windows to see these furry creatures. The individual pictured below was was perching on our "accent rock" in front of our house. It makes quite a nice squirrel perch.

 


Scratching an itch......

 


So since I most often see gray squirrels that are actually gray, I was fairly surprised to see this darker furred animal in the box-elder from which our feeders hang. It isn't the typical melanistic squirrel that I'm used to seeing. A look at its tail reveals some brownish-tan hairs, and even his back hair is not jet black. Still, a unique individual for the yard, and I'll be sure to keep my on the feeder to see if any more melanistic squirrels visit.

 


I'm curious, does anyone else have black eastern gray squirrels where you live?

Tom
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14 comments:

  1. We have black squirrels in the Cleveland area along the Lakewood/Rocky River border and over on the east side by Brecksville Reservation.

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  2. I sure have seen the black "gray" squirrels! They are soo funny to see! I have heard about the white ones but I have never seen them!

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  3. I haven't seen that black squirrel outside- weird! When I lived in SC, we had squirrels that looked like foxes- they were a few colors and nothing like I'd ever seen.

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  4. Our squirrels in Ann Arbor are really brown and the size of housecats. I always thought it was because they are so protected on campus from cars and predators and people feed them bird seed off campus and beer and pretzels on campus.

    here's a shot from Toledo, ours a little bigger an hour north:)
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/bnazario/133417818

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  5. Erik..Thanks for the Cleveland area report.

    Monarch, The OSU student newspaper published a picture of a white gray squirrel from New Orleans that the student photographer captured while covering the national championship game.

    Megan and Beth,

    You guys definitely saw the fox squirrel. Beth, your photo is great. It looks like you are a squirrel mom trying to take a picture of your kid who woulnd't cooperate and just close its eyes! And Megan, you described it really well by saying it looked like a fox!

    Tom

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  6. There are lots of the blacks in Westfield NY!

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  7. Thanks for the report Jennifer. It looks like quite a few people see black squirrels. I still haven't seen one here in Columbus since I took this photo about two weeks ago, but I'm on the lookout.

    Tom

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  8. Out here on the coast we have the Delmarva fox squirrel (endangered and the size of a rabbit), and some of the Washington DC suburbs (Silver Spring, MD comes to mind) have a really high density of black squirrels. Saw my first one in 1999 and almost wrecked the truck!

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  9. Thing-

    Delmarva fox squirrel. Very interesting! I did a google search and found some very interesting pages about this little guy. Thanks for letting us know about this interesting creature. I need to go to the Chesapeake. My only experience with that region is from reading the novel of the same name by James Michener.

    Tom

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  10. Hi there,
    We live in a residential neighborhood Vancouver Washington and have been feeding squirrels for years. They have become almost like pets to us. They eat out of our hands, pockets etc. I know probably not the right thing to do, but we enjoy. But this year we are noticing some really strange behavior and wondering if you can help us figure out. We kept finding small rocks or pebbles by our back door. Then we were seeing the squirrels carrying these rocks. One day we actually saw a squirrel leave one of the rocks at the back door. It is like they are bringing us rocks to trade for the peanuts. Do you have any idea what this behavior is all about? Really appreciate any insight. thanks Beckie and Jerry

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    1. Hi, we live in Alberta, and find that the squirrels have come to our back door with rocks in their mouths (unique shapes or colour of rocks). It is like they have become semi-pets who want to trade (Pavlovian response? ha ha). I guess we are becoming domesticated!

      We have one squirrel that is our "backyard squirrel" he is older and has safety in our back yard.

      Cheaper than all the dogs and cats we used to have!

      Hope you continue to have fun:)

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  11. We have seen a white gray squirrel roaming our neighborhood in Westerville. I have almost hit it with the van. We have lots of gray squirrels at our feeder. I will keep an eye out for the darker version. We live near a nature preserve and take frequent walks with the kids.

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  12. I live in Cleveland,Oh and yesterday I saw a snow white squirrel in my neighbors yard.I was very surprised, never have seen anything like it in my life!

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  13. I wonder if Becky could be describing a 'Grey Digger' that is seen out west. When I lived in the Mt. Hood Wilderness area in Oregon, these pesky squirrels would steal dog and cat food, but they would always leave something in its place, like stones . They're pretty aggressive when confronted, and I wouldn't want them as pets. They're not like a dear little gray squirrel like we have in Ohio.

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