b l a c k  s q u i r r e l s
Sciurus carolinensis
380–525mm [total]
150–250mm [tail]

Black squirrels are eastern gray squirrels with black coats (and skins). They are melanistically morphed. They infest/beautify Princeton. An article in the Detroit News (not online; from heaven remembers when) claims that Princeton, Detroit and Lansing in Michigan, Galesburg, Illinois, and Reedsburg, Wisconsin, are the only locales in the United States boasting predominantly swarthy populations. Amber Donaldson, fifth grader, tells the New York Times what it all means: 'We think that global warming could be changing the color of the squirrels by increasing the pigment of their skin' [*]. Currently, only one squirrel in ten thousand worldwide is black.

Some observers believe that black squirrels are 'meaner and more aggressive' than other squirrels, but scientists maintain (according to the print-only Wabash Intelligencer) that 'there is no genetic linkage between the color gene and aggressive behavior.' In a lethally stupid game called alt.devilbunnies [*], black squirrels function as 'Polish Mine Detectors.'

The creatures are natural mascots, celebrated, and every university that has a population likes to claim its uniqueness. Like Princeton [*], Haverford [*], Kent State [*]
, Goshen College [*], Augustana College [*], and Macalester College [*]. They, famously, infest Palo Alto [*], too. There is a large, unjust table of 'college squirrel rankings' here [*].

If you like black squirrels, what can you do for them? A recent editorial in the free-distribution weekly Hoosick Shopper and Sentinel offers a tip: 'Help natural selection. For black squirrels, bring bonnes bouches. For other squirrels? Squirrel-free birdseed [*].'

2017 erikkennedy.com