Are Black Squirrels Rare?


Are Black Squirrels Rare?

Are there many black squirrels? If you’ve recently observed a black squirrel in the wild, you might be asking yourself this question.

In the USA, black squirrels are not prevalent. The percentage of squirrels with black fur is about 1%. Black squirrel populations in the wild will be higher in the USA’s northeastern and southeastern regions. The black squirrel is not a distinct species. They are a subspecies of various species, including flying, ground, grey, and red squirrels.

Let’s look into black squirrels in more detail and discover why they are less widespread than other varieties.

Why are Some Squirrels Black?

Squirrels that are black are not a distinct species. They are essentially just a black variation of the other squirrel species found in the USA. Any squirrel species that already exists can have a black-furred variation.

A melanistic subgroup is identified by this variance in fur color. Simply put, an ordinary animal with black colour is meant.

Consider melanism to be albinism’s opposite. Instead of an underproduction like in albinism, the body produces too much melanin. In nature, melanism is less common than albinism.

Most eastern grey squirrels and fox squirrels have black fur.

When the squirrels marry, a genetic mutation results in the black morph. Black-furred squirrels are the outcome of these aberrant pigment genes. The black gene is dominant, so if it exists in one parent, it is more likely to manifest in any squirrel offspring.

Squirrels might appear completely black or they can have normal colors with black spots all over their bodies.

Where do black squirrels live?

Where do black squirrels live?

In the USA, black squirrels can be found everywhere. Keep in mind that black squirrels are simply darker variations of the ordinary kind of squirrel.

Black eastern grey squirrels are much more prevalent in the lower portions of Canada, such Ontario, and the northern US states.

In south-eastern states, black fox squirrels are much more prevalent.

Michigan has the largest proportion of black squirrels in the country. Up to 56% of the 5squirrels in Michigan are reportedly black mutations.

Along the Missouri River and in the area of Council Bluff, Iowa, black squirrels are also frequently spotted.

In the UK, black squirrels can also be found. The Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, and Cambridgeshire regions of England are primarily affected by this.

Benefits of Black Fur For Squirrels

Why squirrels have developed the black morph gene mutation is unknown.

Their dark fur has advantages. Let’s look at it.

1. Heat Retaining

One idea holds that squirrels in colder northern climates benefit from their black fur. Black hues are reputed to retain more heat. The fact that tree squirrels don’t hibernate in the winter can help them survive in frigid climates.

For the black morph grey squirrels found in the northern states and Canada, this might be the case.

The natural range of eastern grey squirrels is not very extensive in Canada. According to researchers, the black morph greys have contributed to the squirrel species’ continued expansion.

2. Concealment

Grey squirrels have a significant edge when it comes to hiding amid trees that lose their leaves (deciduous).

Squirrels of the black morph are better able to conceal themselves from predators in denser evergreen trees.

It is believed that the black morph of fox squirrels makes them more difficult to spot when moving as opposed to when they are still.

3. Immunity

Black squirrels may be more immune than their non-black counterparts, according to some studies.

Even still, more data are required by science to validate this notion. Black squirrels seem to be more resilient and experience fewer illnesses that cause mortality.

Are Black Squirrels aggressive?

Melanistic creatures are substantially more aggressive in nature. They typically have higher testosterone levels, which explains this.

Although this theory has not yet been officially studied. Scientists and wildlife watchers have reported anecdotally that black squirrels exhibit substantially more aggressive behavior.

When other squirrel species try to attack the black variants, they may be able to live in the wild thanks to their hostility.

Additionally, compared to other squirrel species, black squirrels don’t seem to be as wary of people.

Are Black Squirrels Good Luck?

You can consider yourself fortunate to have seen a rarity in nature since black squirrels are not frequently seen.

Black squirrels are mentioned in Native American folklore in connection with solar eclipse occurrences.

Native Americans frequently equate squirrels with messengers that deliver dangers and warnings. A black squirrel is therefore not considered to be a lucky omen in Native American culture.

Black squirrels serve as the municipal and school mascots in contemporary society. Kent University’s unofficial mascot is a black squirrel. Haverford College and Albion College.

The official town mascot of Marysville, Kansas is a black squirrel. The city of Marysville is known as the Black Squirrel City. The annual event they hold each year is the Black Squirrel Parade. which has 21 decorated five-foot squirrels placed across the town by local artisans.

Are Black Squirrels Pests?

The more aggressive behavior of black squirrels makes them a potential problem. As a result, several people attempted to eradicate black squirrels from their locality.

In several jurisdictions, including Kansas and Iowa, it is against the law to “annoy, worry, maim, harm, or kill a black squirrel.”

The populations of red squirrels are in risk from black variants, just like they are from grey squirrels. This is due to both their increased aggression and their propensity to consume their food supply.

Comparatively speaking to other species of squirrels, red squirrels have a very specialized diet. Red squirrels have a tougher time thriving in an area if grey and black squirrels take the resources that red squirrels have discovered. To learn more about what squirrels consume, read my article.

Why are Some Squirrels Black?

Final thoughts

Black squirrels are not uncommon, but they are rare. In the US, there is one black squirrel for every 10,000 other squirrels.

Black squirrels are just regular species that are found all over the USA in a different color. The only distinction is a black pigment gene that gives them different-colored fur. or a combination of both.

Black squirrel populations are expanding. This might be as a result of their genetic advantage to endure in colder climates, like the north.

Black squirrels may be quite a treat to see, and they are beloved in several American communities.


Why are black squirrels so rare?

Fox squirrels can pass on a darker coat to their progeny since they tend to be darker in color. But according to this latest study, black fur is actually the product of a genetic abnormality. This explains why black squirrels, which account for about one in every 10,000 squirrels, are considered to be rather rare.

What does it mean if you see a black squirrel?

Black squirrels represent transformation and trust mostly. But a squirrel in a dream (or when it appears and sits by you) could also represent readiness, submission, and letting go.

How did squirrels become black?

The study, which was published in the journal BMC Evolutionary Biology, discovered that gray squirrels were not the source of the allele, or variation form of a particular gene, that causes a squirrel to be black. It most likely came about as a result of fox squirrels and gray squirrels mating (a species that also has a black morph).

What color squirrels are rare?

Gray squirrels now outnumber black squirrels, which are rare. However, other academics contend that little has changed regarding squirrels and that reports of black squirrels are more myth than actuality. Whatever the case, a report published in 2019 offered fresh genetic data on gray squirrels’ black colour.

How rare is a black squirrel?

one in 10,000


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Sarah Green

Wildlife and Nature Fan & Author