Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Black Lives Matter

Where I live in New England, one of the most common forms of wildlife is the squirrel. You see them everywhere. Particularly, the grey squirrel. If you grow up in this area and imagine a squirrel, that's the one you picture. So it might surprise some to learn there are other squirrels.

In Europe there are red squirrels. If you've seen Disney's The Sword in the Stone you might remember the girl squirrel was red. There is also an American red squirrel. We don't really see them as much around these parts.

And then there are black squirrels. I had a teacher who was so convinced black squirrels do not exist because she had never seen one. And for most of my life I hadn't seen one either. But I have seen them in Canada. They also live out in the western parts of Massachusetts. So I associate them with the northern and western areas. They are common in the midwest, apparently. But as long as I've lived, I've never seen them as far east as where I am.

That changed recently. I've been taking extra work on the north end of town, and in my walking over the past few months I've noticed black squirrels in the area by Framingham High School. I have walked down here many times before and never seen black squirrels. This seems to me to be a recent development. If indeed it is, I wonder what has caused the black squirrel population to migrate further southeast? Will we start seeing more black squirrels as the years go by? Will the blacks fight the greys for dominance?

I am curious why I'm seeing black squirrels here now. If you've never seen one, take a stroll down here and keep your eyes open.

Oh, and this should go without saying but just in case: there's nothing political about this post, despite the title. It's not a metaphor; it's just about squirrels. But interestingly as I read up on them, the black squirrels are basically the same species as the grey squirrels, just with a mutation causing different pigmentation. So black squirrels are to grey essentially as black people are to white. Again, no metaphor there, I just find it interesting.


  1. Wow. I did not know there are now black squirrels in Framingham! It might have helped if you were more specific about where you'd seen black squirrels in Canada, since Canada is such a large country! We saw them in Niagara Falls, Ontario. That was the first time I'd ever seen them; I think that was 2003. Of course, we saw lots of black squirrles in Westfield, MA when Rachel was a college student there.

  2. There are black squirrels in the Washington DC area also.