black squirrels

j a witkowski witkowsk at
Thu Jan 5 17:41:13 EST 1995

>: >Each Christmas we travel to my wife's parents' house in San Jose, CA.
>: >There are a lot of old trees in that neighborhood, and many many squirrels.
>: >I vaguely recall my in-laws mentioning several years ago that there was a
>: >black squirrel about, two years ago I saw one, and this year they appeared
>: >to make up about half of the squirrel population.  The "normal" squirrels
>: >are grey, but the black ones are a very dark coal-black color.  In
>: >addition, and this is based on just watching them - no measurements, the
>: >black ones are slightly smaller, and their tails are slightly less bushy...
I saw a very dark squirrel last year and a couple of weeks ago one that was
black (or at least so dark it seemed black). I think that there was fur at
the tip of the tail. It did seem smaller and its tail less bushy than the
regular grey squirrels around here. Also its behavior was rather different.
It seemed distinctly more "nervous", not letting me get at all close to it
as I tried to get a photograph using 300mm lens. It did not have the same
foraging pattern of the greys and seemed to passing through. I haven't seen
it since. In few of the extreme scarcity of this form, I presume it was a
melanic mutation.

J. A. Witkowski
Banbury Center
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Cold Spring Harbor, NY 11724-0534
witkowsk at

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