Posts Tagged ‘gray squirrel’

Trying to smell it.


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A drey


This is a gray squirrel’s nest.

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Miley treed a squirrel today, but after it took to the trees, it let loose quite few alarm calls:


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I saw this while out on the Coyote Highway:

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Gray squirrel tracks

You don’t normally see these. Squirrels prefer to use branches going across well-tending roads rather than crossing them.

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The branches of a hickory tree reach across the well-tender’s road to another.

The squirrels can eat all the hickory nuts they want and never have to cross the ground.

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Remember these two squirrels?

On a previous post, I said that these animals were hybrids between Eurasian red squirrels and North American Eastern gray squirrels, which are an introduced species in the United Kingdom.

I said that the squirrel in the top photo had been a confirmed hybrid, and because the other squirrel happened to be black, it was suggested that it was a hybrid between a melanistic gray squirrel and red squirrel.

Well, I was pulling your leg.

I’ve had one person check out the Wikipedia page on red squirrels and inform me that the gray one was actually a Eurasian red squirrel in its winter pelt.  Though becoming rarer in the British Isles, red squirrels are still quite wide-ranging animals, and they vary greatly in color throughout their range and throughout the year.

The black squirrel isn’t even a gray squirrel or a red squirrel.

It is a melanistic Abert’s squirrel (Sciurus aberti), which is a species native to the southern Rockies.

Long-time readers know that I’m somewhat prone to pulling pranks.

And I like to keep you on your toes…

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Miley bagged a gray squirrel that was too slow to make it to the trees today. Unlike with her previous failed attempt to catch a fox squirrel, she killed this one right off.

She’s proud of her kill:

No. I didn’t eat it.



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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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