Air Quality:

Black Squirrels

Reedsburg's Black Squirrels
By William C. Schuette

Anyone who has lived in Reedsburg for any length of time, or has visited its many parks, can’t help but notice the preponderance of black squirrels scurrying around. Yes, there are also the common gray variety, but the dark furry critters seem to predominate.

How rare is the black squirrel? A little investigation via the Internet brought forth some answers. According to one "official" squirrel web site, "Gray squirrels come in many colors; shades of gray are the most common followed by shades of brown. There are also pure white and pure black squirrels but both are variations of the gray squirrel."

According to a recent article in The Detroit News, the Detroit & Lansing, MI, areas, along with Princeton, NJ, Galesburg, IL, and New Hartford, CT, are the only five places in the U.S. with a predominate population of black furred squirrels, and of course, Reedsburg, WI!

Biologists estimate that the black squirrel is unusually rare with only one squirrel in 10,000 wearing the dusky coat. This mutant of the gray squirrel resides primarily in northern climates. Biologists surmise that the black fur more readily absorbs the rays of the sun, thereby keeping its owner warmer during cold winters. Selective genetics has given the black squirrel this survival advantage.

One of the reasons they seem to be more abundant in cities is that their black coloration is more readily spotted in rural areas by predators, primarily birds of prey.

So the next time you spot one of these black furry creatures attacking your bird feeder or ravaging your garden, be a little more tolerant, they are indeed, unique.

Excerpted from the book,
Reedsburg Remembers 150 Years