Sunday, March 30, 2008

Eastern Grey Squirrels

What colour is an eastern grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis)?

Yes this is a trick question. ;-)
Eastern grey squirrels--common to eastern Canada and U.S.--come in grey, BLACK, and occasionally white (albinos).

Lots of people think black squirrels, which far outnumber the grey in my neighbourhood, are a different species from the grey, but black is often the dominant colour in Ontario and Quebec. Black squirrels also live in pockets of Detroit and other cities in the northern U.S.

These squirrels are sunning themselves on the south side of this tree. Their black fur absorbs the sun more efficiently than grey would, which may be the reason most black eastern grey squirrels (I like saying that -- it's sort of a tongue twister) live in the northernmost part of the species' range.

City squirrels are often bold but these guys are country squirrels and a bit more wary than their city cousins. As I moved in closer to get a better photo...
they scurried into this hole. Actually, there were five of them and they ALL fled, entering the tree through this hole. And not a one would poke it's head out again so I could snap its picture.


dot said...

Since I've never seen a black squirrel the ones in your pictures look really strange to me. We have way too many grey ones around here but I think your black ones are prettier.

Marcel said...

They look like they would be fun to watch. Nice photos.

Chrissy said...

So cute!

ANNA-LYS said...

Strange and cute. In Sweden they are chestnut-brown coloured.

Have a great week!

Kris McCracken said...

I saw a recipe online for 'Brunswick stew' the other day. It's made of grey squirrels.

For some reason it feels wrong to admit that it looked kind of tasty!

Tom said...

I don't think I've come across these before.. I must say they look stunning in a black coats.


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East Gwillimbury is a rural town less than an hour north of Toronto, Canada's largest city. My family calls me CameraGirl because I take my camera with me wherever I go.