Posts Tagged ‘black squirrel’

Milling about on the lawn were both common phases of the Eastern gray squirrel.








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I got a better photo of a black squirrel on the trail camera this week.


Melanism in Eastern gray squirrels does have some advantage in heavily forested environments. I have a lot harder time seeing the black ones against tree trunks and branches, especially if the leaves are on.

However, if one of these squirrels runs out in the open, it is obvious to every hawk that might be staking out the area.


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The really cold temperatures must be messing with the time stamp. Neither of these two videos came from 2068.

These are melanistic Eastern gray squirrel, and there aren’t many of them in West Virginia.


Two of them here, and you can see where black color is an advantage in deep cover:


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Miley treed a black squirrel (melanistic gray squirrel) today, but he was moving too fast from tree to tree for me to get a photo of him.

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I came across this little melanistic gray squirrel today, and naive as he is, he just sat there on that white oak branch and let me take a few photos and a few seconds of video of him.


In this particular stretch of woods there are black variants and normal gray variants, but they come in more color variants than I can describe here.

Eastern gray squirrels have two litters per year. This one was born in the late winter winter litter.  Its mother is likely already pregnant with her midsummer litter which will be born some time next month.

As I mentioned, I did get a little bit of video of this squirrel before he darted off:


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As someone who has seen dozens of melanistic gray squirrels, I can say that this is one of them.

It is not unusual to find melanistic individuals with gray or brown banding on their hairs.

I have seen these black squirrels with red tails– and they definitely were not fox squirrels.   The tail was pure golden red like a golden retriever, not sabled like a collie, which indicative of a northern fox squirrel.


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As I have written earlier, many melanistic Eastern gray squirrels have red tails, which leads to bizarre conclusions that these squirrel are hybrid with fox squirrels. Melanistic eastern gray squirrels are generally found in the northern parts of their range, where the native fox squirrel subspecies isn’t black at all.

I’ve never heard of the two hybridizing. Eastern grays don’t even like fox squirrels, and although a single fox squirrel can easily beat a gray up, the grays often gang up the fox squirrels. I’ve seen this many times at bird feeders.

This paticular melanistic gray does have an unusual amount of red on it. I’ve never seen one like this before

The vast array of color phases that can be found in the Eastern gray squirrels is really quite remarkable. They come in normal gray. They come in albino, and they have the aforementioned melanistic form.  But there are other colors that are not often mentioned– probably because they aren’t all that widespread.


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