Black Squirrel Facts, Fiction, Lore
Squirrels seem to be everywhere…in yards, parks, city streets, woods and fields everywhere. They are a familiar, often beloved figure in almost all rural, suburban and urban areas. Black squirrels, although previously rather rare and unusual, seem to be more and more prevalent throughout the United States. There are a lot of questions surrounding this breed of squirrel. Are black squirrels mean, good luck, rare, or none of the above?
There are many types of squirrels and many colors of squirrels depending upon where you live. (If you are really interested in identifying squirrels, visit SquirrelRefuge.org for more information.)
- One of the most familiar in woodland and parkland areas is the smaller gray ones called known as the Eastern Gray squirrel.
- If you live in a region with lots of pines and conifers, then you may see squirrels sporting a reddish-brown color, popularly known as the fox squirrels. Also known as the eastern fox squirrel or Bryant’s fox squirrel, this is the largest species of tree squirrel in North America.
- The black variety is less common but becoming more prevalent in the Northeast United States, the Midwest and Canada.
Are Black Squirrels Rare?
Why are some squirrels black?
Black squirrels are actually a sub-group of the same species of the eastern gray squirrels. Their black color is just simply a product of genetic mutation between the gray squirrels and fox squirrels. When an eastern gray squirrel interbreeds with fox squirrel, the fox squirrels which has the predominant color of fur gets to pass their genes to grey squirrels; resulting in the change of the fur color to black.
It may seem that these squirrels are rare; however, they are fairly common. Whenever you see eastern gray squirrels and fox squirrels in your area, then there is a possibility of spotting black ones in the future too.
Are Black Squirrels More Aggressive?
Are black squirrels more aggressive than gray squirrels?
According to an article published by the Daily Mail, black squirrels are faster and more aggressive than their parent gray and red squirrels. The dominant qualities of the gray and red squirrels are passed on to the black ones; thus, making them the fittest in the whole family. They have inherited the gray squirrels’ ability to adapt well in dense population as well as their immunity to certain diseases. Apart from that, the red squirrels’ ability to survive in cold temperatures and their efficiency when it comes to hunting are also passed on this product of mutation.
Little known fact: The black squirrel is considered the unofficial mascot of Kent State University. It was in 1961 when several of them were trapped in Canada and released by a number of students at Kent State University. There is a story behind this chronicled by Kent State
“The Black Squirrel Festival is only the beginning of black squirrel pride in Kent. There is Black Squirrel Radio, a Black Squirrel Triathlon, Black Squirrel Books, Black Squirrel Music, Black Squirrel Gallery, Black Squirrel Brewing, bumper stickers, t-shirts, stuffed animals, and the campus police have even adopted the black squirrel as part of their emblem. All of these are clear indications that black squirrels are a staple both on and off campus.”
Not sure, but sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words:
Are Black Squirrels Good Luck?
Black squirrel good luck urban legend
Yes, some people actually think they are good luck! At Kent State, it’s supposed to mean good luck to rub the squirrel statue in the student center. For some time it was considered to be good luck to see a black squirrel, but as they become more common, it becomes less so.