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Hot squirrel-on-squirrel action
May 19, 2005 6:11 PM   Subscribe

Evolution, social harmony between those of different colors, and rodent roofies: "He used to smear a tree behind his Silver Spring home with a mixture of peanut butter and Valium and then tattoo the squirrels that he found passed out below."

All this and more in the story of the ongoing displacement of the grey squirrel by the black squirrel in the Washington, D.C. region.
posted by NortonDC (22 comments total)

 
ehp. Link to the opening page. I spent too much time dicking around with Coral Cache and not enough with the main link.
posted by NortonDC at 6:31 PM on May 19, 2005


Why do you Liberals say everything is always about evolution?

This is not evolution. Clearly God is sending a message. He is trying to show us that badness, as signified by the Black Squirrel, is imported from Canada and is spreading from Washington DC.

Your theory of evolution is nothing more than a theory like this one.
posted by sien at 7:03 PM on May 19, 2005


Some residents have called to complain that the new squirrels are aggressive, driving out the friendly gray squirrels, said Bill Hamilton of the county Department of Park and Planning.

It's obvious the squirrels are turning black because someone dropped a N-bomb on them.
posted by localroger at 7:21 PM on May 19, 2005


A DC friend has sworn himself mortal enemy of the black squirrel. It is quite amusing to hear him rant and rave about it, particularly whilst walking along the Mall where the black squirrels seem to be taking over.
posted by shoepal at 7:34 PM on May 19, 2005


http://www.countryreflections.co.uk/columns/redsquirrel.htm
posted by longsleeves at 8:10 PM on May 19, 2005



posted by longsleeves at 8:13 PM on May 19, 2005


It's obvious the squirrels are turning black because someone dropped a N-bomb on them.

But when they're called A-A squirrels, both grey and black squirrels have a much less pronounced reaction. </rimshot>

If it weren't for the fact that the Smithsonian apparently has "archives" that confirm it, I'd wonder whether the import of squirrels is some sort of urban legend, especially on colleges (where it seems every campus has its own "sinking library"). Both Kent State and Ohio U seem to have stories about the import of squirrels (the latter, inexplicably, grey). Since there isn't agreement on whether they were brought in as a scientific research project, or just a rogue squirrel-loving groundskeeper, I'm a little dubious that "squirrel import" is just a folk explanation for what is merely a natural mutation.
posted by dhartung at 8:22 PM on May 19, 2005


no, dhartung, it's not a folk explanation ... w k kellogg introduced black squirrels to battle creek, where they rapidly multiplied and took over the squirrel population ... interestingly enough, in the last 20 years, the grey squirrels have been coming back

20 miles away in kalamazoo, i've yet to see a black squirrel
posted by pyramid termite at 8:45 PM on May 19, 2005


Peanut butter and Valium?

Hey that's my dating technique.
posted by JGreyNemo at 9:34 PM on May 19, 2005


JGreyNemo, you forgot your </rimshot>
posted by shoepal at 9:45 PM on May 19, 2005


How ironic. In the UK, red squirrels are being squeezed out everywhere by grey squirrels. Does this mean we have yet another iteration to come?
posted by salmacis at 3:40 AM on May 20, 2005


I just want to point out that the Smithsonian has a collection of 30,000 squirrel carcasses. My first two guesses are 1) They're preparing an army of undead rodents, or 2) They were buried in Johnny Appleseed's Tomb to accompany him to the underworld.
posted by coelecanth at 4:04 AM on May 20, 2005


I've been hand feeding the squirrels in my complex (in the Bay Area) for the past year or so, and I've noticed that the grey squirrels routinely chase off and bully the black ones. Furthermore, there's a rigid pecking order in squirrel society, and the alpha and beta squirrels are both female. There are a dozen or more grey squirrels and only two black ones, so I don't think the black ones are taking over in my neck of the woods.
posted by Devils Slide at 5:11 AM on May 20, 2005


It doesn't get that cold here, so I guess a black coat isn't really an advantage during the winter months.
posted by Devils Slide at 5:21 AM on May 20, 2005


The black squirrels are accepted because they make all the popular music. Also, they're more athletic in general... they have more powerful little squirrel thighs, so they can jump higher.
posted by Jart at 5:35 AM on May 20, 2005


Thanks for this link. I missed the article.

When I was growing up in DC in the 70s black squirrels were rare enough that we had a whole "They come from Satan" thing about them that was fun. We also developed the myth that they were always rabid. Now, the same neighborhood has many more black squirrels and I wonder what the kids say. (Damn kids).

Also, I thought there was a plaque inside the Conn Ave entrance to the Zoo, on the north side of the path, that said that the black squirrels were a gift from Canada, not just that they came from Canada. (Damn Canadians).
posted by OmieWise at 6:01 AM on May 20, 2005


All the squirrels in Tompkins Square Park in the late 80s/early 90s were black - it was the first time I'd ever seen black squirrels. The ones in Washington Square were gray, though. /pointless comment
posted by mygothlaundry at 7:13 AM on May 20, 2005


And Central Park has both black and grey squirrels.
posted by MotherTucker at 9:38 AM on May 20, 2005


I love the black squirrels! I live in Arlington, and over the past 15 years, I've watched the black squirrel population increase. I have my own theory of natural selection though. I assume that the black squirrels have increased because they contrast with the pavement and therefore get run over less. I don't think I've ever seen black squirrel roadkill, but I see gray squirrel roadkill all the time. Also, someone correct me if I'm wrong, but don't the black and gray squirrels interbreed? They're the same species, right? If I'm correct, I don't see why there would be any difference in behavior and think that people are merely projecting certain behaviors (aggressiveness) onto the black squirrels.

In conclusion:
DON'T HATE THE BLACK SQUIRRELS.
posted by ereshkigal45 at 11:11 AM on May 20, 2005


Anyone else ever hear Syd Straw's "Black Squirrel"? It was on her 1996 album, War and Peace.

Black squirrel in a white world
Flying through the trees
Flying through the air
Flying through the trees
Scrape your little squirrel knees

(Yes, a deliberately cheesy song.)
posted by Sully6 at 12:33 PM on May 20, 2005


I'm surprised to hear The Greys are losing out the Blacks, their big bastards
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 2:03 PM on May 20, 2005


DON'T HATE THE BLACK SQUIRRELS.

I do hate the black squirrels. I shoot at them with my (very low powered) pellet gun. The grey squirrels I like. I shoot them with my (very high powered) slingshot. I shoot various kinds of nuts at them out of my slingshot. It's like belting someone hard with a bag of cash. Yes, I am seeking psychiatric help.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:06 PM on May 20, 2005


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