Two Foot Tall Squirrels in North Carolina?!
November 29, 2018 9:15 AM   Subscribe

A creepy detail worth noting: Biologists say some fox squirrels are known to be almost totally black, meaning they could be invisible in the woods after dark. "North Carolinians have come to expect rattlesnakes, bears, alligators and possibly even Bigfoot in wooded areas, but state wildlife officials posted images this month of a lesser known oddity that is just as startling: A 2-foot-tall squirrel."
posted by grobertson (27 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
Nutty.
posted by peeedro at 9:17 AM on November 29, 2018 [7 favorites]


I saw one of these guys in the wild last year. There's nothing quite like seeing a large mammal for the first time that you didn't even know existed...
posted by kaibutsu at 9:22 AM on November 29, 2018 [13 favorites]


I did not know that the Georgia Bigfoot ranges this far
posted by thelonius at 9:24 AM on November 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


Every dog in the Mid-Atlantic region just started staring intently out the window.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:39 AM on November 29, 2018 [8 favorites]


We have your typical grey and black squirrels in the suburbs here in California. One day I saw a black squirrel with a white tipped tail, as though someone had dipped it in some bleach. Interesting, but probably just some hybrid. If I had seen a squirrel like kaibutsu's multicolored squirrel I probably would have crashed.

Found a video.
posted by eye of newt at 9:56 AM on November 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


Need picture of squirrel standing next to Holstein for scale.
posted by JackFlash at 10:07 AM on November 29, 2018 [21 favorites]


What's creepy about black squirrels? Almost all of ours are. And it's far more remarkable that we've bred a dog to weigh as little as a squirrel, and not that some squirrels "weigh as much as a chihuahua".
posted by scruss at 10:08 AM on November 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


Living in an area that only has American red squirrels, even the "common" grey squirrel seems huge to me. A two-foot-tall squirrel is basically unimaginable to me, despite seeing the picture.
posted by asnider at 10:20 AM on November 29, 2018 [1 favorite]




Biologists say some fox squirrels are known to be almost totally black, meaning they could be invisible in the woods after dark.
Would a black squirrel be any less visible than any other color squirrel after dark? I mean, if there is insufficient light then pretty much nothing can be seen.
posted by plastic_animals at 10:35 AM on November 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


Zorro squirrels! They're also common in my corner of Appalachia and most of them look like they're wearing little black masks. They can get aggressive if cornered but they're mostly just adorable fluffballs, and way less skittish than grey squirrels. We had a resident one in my old neighborhood, and my neighbor's elderly dog approached him one time and tried to sniff whatever he was chowing down on. The fox squirrel was unperturbed and just put his forepaw on the dog's nose and pushed her away from his food.
posted by xylothek at 10:43 AM on November 29, 2018 [4 favorites]


I for one support this tremendous addition in the return to megafauna.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:51 AM on November 29, 2018 [8 favorites]


Interesting trivia: fox squirrel bones and teeth glow pink under black light.
posted by Lexica at 11:05 AM on November 29, 2018 [6 favorites]


A 2-foot tall squirrel... named Rocky, right?
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:14 AM on November 29, 2018 [6 favorites]


I saw one of these guys in the wild last year

Those Malabar squirrels are like the wildlife version of furries.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 11:20 AM on November 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


Biswamoyopterus laoensis: New Species of Flying Squirrel from Laos [SciNews, 9/6/2013]:
An international team of biologists from Thailand, UK and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic has described a new species of flying squirrel in the genus Biswamoyopterus.

The new species is named Biswamoyopterus laoensis. The suggested common name is the Laotian giant flying squirrel.

Biswamoyopterus laoensis is a large flying squirrel that weighs 1.8 kg and measures about 42 inches (1.08 m) in total length – the body is about 18 inches (0.46 m) long and the tail is 24 inches (0.62 m) long.

“It is a remarkable discovery for science. It is very rare species with large body size,” explained Mr Daosavanh Sanamxay, a masters student at the Prince of Songkla University in Thailand and a lead author of a paper published in the journal Zootaxa.
World’s Largest Squirrel [Indian World Records, 6/10/2008]:
The largest squirrel in the world is the Indian giant squirrel (ratufa indica) sometimes known as the Malabar giant squirrel, it can grow to three feet in length, with only the tail measuring up to 2ft. in length. This species is found in southeast Asia, and parts of Nepal.The species is endemic to deciduous, mixed deciduous, and moist evergreen forests of peninsular India, reaching as far north as the Satpura hill range of Madhya Pradesh approx. 22° N)
Imagine the nuts they could gather...
posted by cenoxo at 11:30 AM on November 29, 2018


Buttercup: Westley, what about the R.O.U.S.'s?

Westley: Rodents Of Unusual Size? I don't think they exist.
posted by apex_ at 11:40 AM on November 29, 2018 [8 favorites]


As a fan of squirrels, I would like to meet these guys in person.
posted by MillMan at 11:48 AM on November 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


Biologists say some fox squirrels are known to be almost totally black, meaning they could be invisible in the woods after dark.

Squirrels are diurnal so if you saw one after dark there's likely something wrong with it. Or it is a rat.
posted by Ashwagandha at 12:01 PM on November 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


I saw a gorgeous reddish fox squirrel once, sitting on a branch on its hind legs staring right at me. Had no idea what it was. Figured it was probably some kind of squirrel so I looked up "red squirrel" but at the time the Internet had apparently only heard of (small) red squirrels, gray squirrels, ground squirrels and flying squirrels. Couldn't figure it out for years.
posted by serena15221 at 12:17 PM on November 29, 2018


When I was a kid, squirrels were always, well, squirrel colored. That kind of gray/tan color. These days, though, I’m as apt to see black squirrels as any. It’s kind of weird, frankly. On first glance, it looks like it’s a squirrel that had made a nest in a chimney or something, and got covered in soot. They just don’t look right.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:56 PM on November 29, 2018


Thorzdad, wikipedia has some basics on your black squirrels, they're normal squirrels with different pigment genes. I see them all the time in DC (likely from a population released by the National Zoo in 1902) but have never seen any in Northern Virginia.
posted by peeedro at 4:12 PM on November 29, 2018


Was in Mexico City last week and saw this guy for the first time. It was apparently an easy Google search: "mexico city squirrel" got me to Mexican gray squirrels, red head and butt and all.
posted by linux at 4:56 PM on November 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


Clarifying comment posted by the original posting account on the Facebook photo thread linked from the article, North Carolina's Candid Critters: The total length, from tip of nose to end of tail, can be 2 feet. Even when sitting upright, or stretching while on hind feet they do not reach two feet in height.
posted by larrybob at 5:14 PM on November 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


There are patches of black squirrels in Arlington, peeedro. There was a group near my grandmother's house (partially because the only meat my grandmother could stomach near the end of her life was squirrel, so my dad used to shoot the gray ones with a bb gun, but spared the melanistic ones), and some up the street from my childhood house, near Reed School.
posted by tavella at 5:28 PM on November 29, 2018


The total length, from tip of nose to end of tail, can be 2 feet. Even when sitting upright, or stretching while on hind feet they do not reach two feet in height.

Ah ok, so they aren't gigantic. Many of the larger squirrels (black & grey) in my backyard have a body in the 20 to 30 cm range but with the tail that would push them close to the 60 cm (2 foot) range. And all are currently very fat from all the dropped bird seed and all my black walnuts. Near my office, I noticed that a large tree has an albino squirrel living in it which I had never seen before.
posted by Ashwagandha at 5:30 PM on November 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


A creepy detail worth noting: Biologists say some fox squirrels are known to be almost totally black...

Perhaps you would feel more comfortable with almost totally white squirrels.
posted by fairmettle at 2:48 AM on November 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


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