Red Squirrels

RainyOcean

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I saw a group of red squirrels here in Pennsylvania once. They were living among all the grey squirrels, but the grey sqirrels were a lot more aggressive and territorial and were always chasing the red squirrels away.
 

chockfullahate

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ainsdale nature reserve on formby, merseyside is where there are lots of red squirrels.
 

hexkitten

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Has anyone seen a white squirrel, when I used to live down in South London there was a whole hoarde of white squirrels, not as cute as the ones in these pictures.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/southerncounties/c ... ters.shtml

The ones near us were larger than grey squirrels and had the scary red eyes. :twisted: really evil looking things.
 

Fats_Tuesday

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RainyOcean said:
I saw a group of red squirrels here in Pennsylvania once. They were living among all the grey squirrels, but the grey sqirrels were a lot more aggressive and territorial and were always chasing the red squirrels away.

The American red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) is a different species to the European red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris).
 
A

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There's a town in south Missouri that is populated by white squirrels The town has gone to great lengths to ensure the safety of them as I think it's the town's only claim to fame. There is a very hefty fine (with possible jail time) for killing one or even trying to take one as a pet. They even ran all of the other squirrels out of town to make sure there wasn't any cross-breeding and to keep the normal squirrels from taking their habitat. The white squirrels were there before the town was even settled.
 

lopaka

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Yeah, I remember reading a feature about that years (10+?) ago in the Kansas City (MO) Star. Nice to know they're still around. Probably not worth a roadtrip in and of itself, but if I'm ever in the neighborhood...
 

Human_84

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yup, cryptozoologists are always chasing down them squirrels!!

how is this 3 pages ???
 

RainyOcean

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how is this 3 pages ???

Squirrels are facsinating creatures. They collect nuts, the chase each other, the drive people completely bonkers. There's just something magical about them. ;)
 

hedgewizard1

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There are populations of melanistic grey squirrels in Illinois. Also in the US Midwest and South, you find Fox Squirrels. They're about twice the size of a grey squirrel. In Illinois, they're a nice foxy red. In Florida, they tend towards golden with a black mask and paws. I couldn't find a decent picture of an Illinois Fox Squirrel, but here a Florida Fox Squirrel:
florida_fox.jpg



And a black squirrel from Illinois:
darksquirreltree.jpg


There is ALSO a Red Squirrel in Illinois. It's very small, about the size of a chipmunk.
 

RainyOcean

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I saw a black squirrel in Canada once! I think I was a little bit too facsinated by it considering I was right near Niagara Falls. :)
 

hedgewizard1

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I dunno Rainy. About 5 minutes, and you've seen Niagara Falls. A black squirrel is at least interactive.
 

RainyOcean

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True. I believe there was also a toddler trying to catch the squirrel, so that was enteretaining. :D
 

Anome

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Potentially rather tragic, though I expect.

I get the same way around some animals. Even possums in the trees around here. I just like seeing that we haven't completely screwed everything up. And they're so cute!

The squirrels around Greenwich Observatory kept me entertained, and allowed me to take some really blurry photographs.
 

RainyOcean

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hahahaha I remember once I was walking by a river and I saw a snake. I just said "snake" and started walking towards it without thinking. Lucky for me the snake ran into the water. :lol:
 

rynner2

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RainyOcean said:
I saw a black squirrel in Canada once! I think I was a little bit too facsinated by it considering I was right near Niagara Falls. :)
Rare squirrel is doorstep visitor

A rare black squirrel has become a regular visitor to a suburban garden.
Carol Eade said she first spotted the squirrel in her garden at Stevenage, Hertfordshire, on Saturday.

Conservationists say the animal - a melanistic form of the grey variety - is unusual but at least one cluster of them is known in Cambridgeshire.

Mrs Eade said when she found the squirrel sitting on her step when she opened her door on Saturday morning she thought it was a pet.

"I was so surprised - I had never heard of black squirrels and it was so tame, I thought it must have belonged to someone.

"I gave it some nuts and went out - the nuts disappeared and the squirrel was back on Sunday," she said.

Albino squirrels

"What intrigues me is whether it is a lone black squirrel or whether there are others around."

Mrs Eade's daughter, photographer Sarah Patchett, of North Walsham in Norfolk, took the pictures of the squirrel earlier this week .

Forestry Commission chief wildlife ranger for East Anglia, Trevor Banham, who confirmed from the pictures that the squirrel was a grey one, said though black squirrels were known, a close-up photograph was unusual.

Squirrel specialist Brenda Mayle, of Forest Research, said she had not seen a black squirrel in England in her 25 years working in the field.

But they are thought to be more common than albino squirrels.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/4365002.stm
 

DougalLongfoot

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Rainy Ocean wrote

I remember once I was walking by a river and I saw a snake. I just said "snake" and started walking towards it without thinking. Lucky for me the snake ran into the water.

A snake that runs? :shock: That is truly wierd! :lol:
 

RainyOcean

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:lol: Slithered quickly then.
 

Stormkhan

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Slacker~ said:
Letchworth, Hertfordshire is famous for its black squirrels - which are actually a very rare mutation of the grey variety.
They were first recorded in 1944 and for some reason they seem to stay within a four mile radius of the town centre.
Just to point out that I went to boarding school in Letchworth and the grounds were home to many black squirrels. There's even a local pub named after them. I took my missus to a school reunion and she only half believed me when I told her about them ... until she watched two run across the lawn!
They may be mutant greys, but they are very black!
 

Stormkhan

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We're all special in our own little ways.
;)
 

rynner2

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Longish article here:

Tufty's saviour to the rescue
Pine marten numbers swell, killing off the grey interlopers who ousted the red squirrel
By Jeremy Watson

THEY have been vilified as a pest, persecuted for centuries and hunted for their fur.

But now one of Scotland's native animals is attracting a new body of support for its role as a potential saviour of the red squirrel.

The pine marten, a small mammal once prolific throughout the country's woodlands, only existed in remote pockets in the far north of Scotland a century ago.

As it has spread south again, however, it has come into contact with American grey squirrels which are taking over the territory of the native reds, now a threatened species.

Forestry researchers have now found that where the two species have moved on to the same ground, grey squirrel numbers have gone into reverse.

They believe that carnivorous pine martens prey on greys, which, unlike reds, mainly forage for food on the forest floor. But they are unable to catch the faster, lighter native species, which normally inhabit the treetops.

They are now calling for habitats for pine martens to be created to help stop the invasion of the greys in its tracks. Red squirrels are now one of Scotland's most endangered species, largely due to the bigger, more aggressive greys moving into their former territory.

The pine marten effect has been observed in woodlands in Perthshire, near Pitlochry and Aberfeldy, and published in a paper for the journal of the Royal Scottish Forestry Society.

Rob Coope, the Forestry Commission's Tayside region biodiversity manager, said: "Pine martens are opportunistic animals who will exploit any new food source that moves into their territory.

"Grey squirrels are a big threat to red squirrels, but what we have noticed is that in areas where pine martens are active, grey numbers go down and they almost disappear.

"Their march up the country has been pretty relentless, but in these areas it had been halted.

"We tried to think of reasons for this happening, and the theory is that expanding pine marten populations come up against expanding grey squirrel populations. Colleagues in Ireland feel they have seen the same thing happening."

Coope suggests that the answer to why pine martens hunt greys rather than reds is that the American invader mainly hunts for its food at ground level.

"We know that pine martens feed mainly on the ground and we know that greys spend more time on the ground than reds," he said.

"Reds tend to be in the treetops eating seeds from pine cones, whereas greys will run around on the forest floor looking for acorns and beech nuts. That's when they come into contact with pine martens.

"So it may be that in areas that are poor habitats for grey squirrels, pine marten predation tips the balance in favour of the red."

Pine martens, which grow to the size of an adult cat with a bushy tail, are part of the weasel family of animals, native to Northern Europe. Its fur is usually light to dark brown and grows longer and silkier during the winter months. It has a cream to yellow-coloured 'bib' marking on its throat.

more...
http://news.scotsman.com/latestnews/Tuf ... 3628352.jp
 

Timble2

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It's the end of the Grey squirrel threat to the Red Squirrels. The black squirrels (Ninja squirrels?) are taking over. I've been seen these around Hunts for the last 6 years or so...

Black squirrels set to dominate

Researchers from Cambridge have at last solved one of the mysteries of the animal world, Inside Out has revealed.

Black squirrel numbers are rapidly increasing and until now the UK origins of the creatures have been unknown.

The black squirrel was first spotted in the UK 90 years ago in Hitchin, Hertfordshire.

But it now accounts for almost half of all squirrels in some areas around Cambridgeshire and there are an estimated 25,000 in eastern England.

While the black squirrels have been around for a number of years no-one has been able to explain where they came from.

Inside Out has been given exclusive access as scientists reveal for the first time how the black squirrel came into being.

Some 10,000 years ago, the red squirrel had Britain to itself but in 1892 a pair of American grey squirrels were released into the wild.

The result is that today there are more than two million grey squirrels and just a few hundred reds living in a handful of places - and now the black squirrel represents the same kind of threat to the grey as the impact of the grey on the red.

Helen McRobbie and Alison Thomas, from Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, are spearheading the black squirrel research and could not agree about how the black squirrel population in the UK came into being.

Ms McRobbie believed the black squirrel was the result of a genetic mutation, two grey squirrels mated and produced a black off-spring which grew up and mated.

Its off-spring were even darker and this continued until black became the over-riding colour.

Ms Thomas disagrees, saying: "I don't think the black squirrels we have here in the UK are the result of a genetic mutation.

"That would require too big a jump; I just don't think that's plausible at all. Such a big change just doesn't happen like that in nature."

They finally came up with a solution to answer the question of how the black squirrel came into being, by importing a black squirrel from the USA.

Genetic markers were taken and compared with a British black and the result was proof that the squirrels are descendents of American blacks that escaped from zoos.

It seems possible now that the grey squirrel has had its day and that black squirrels could become the dominant species across the UK.

The BBC Inside Out programme screens on BBC1 in the East at 1930 BST on Wednesday, 21 January.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/e ... 839653.stm

Published: 2009/01/20 11:44:39 GMT

© BBC MMIX
 

Timble2

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It's the end of the Grey squirrel threat to the Red Squirrels. The black squirrels (Ninja squirrels?) are taking over. I've been seeing these around Hunts for the last 6 years or so...

Black squirrels set to dominate

Researchers from Cambridge have at last solved one of the mysteries of the animal world, Inside Out has revealed.

Black squirrel numbers are rapidly increasing and until now the UK origins of the creatures have been unknown.

The black squirrel was first spotted in the UK 90 years ago in Hitchin, Hertfordshire.

But it now accounts for almost half of all squirrels in some areas around Cambridgeshire and there are an estimated 25,000 in eastern England.

While the black squirrels have been around for a number of years no-one has been able to explain where they came from.

Inside Out has been given exclusive access as scientists reveal for the first time how the black squirrel came into being.

Some 10,000 years ago, the red squirrel had Britain to itself but in 1892 a pair of American grey squirrels were released into the wild.

The result is that today there are more than two million grey squirrels and just a few hundred reds living in a handful of places - and now the black squirrel represents the same kind of threat to the grey as the impact of the grey on the red.

Helen McRobbie and Alison Thomas, from Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, are spearheading the black squirrel research and could not agree about how the black squirrel population in the UK came into being.

Ms McRobbie believed the black squirrel was the result of a genetic mutation, two grey squirrels mated and produced a black off-spring which grew up and mated.

Its off-spring were even darker and this continued until black became the over-riding colour.

Ms Thomas disagrees, saying: "I don't think the black squirrels we have here in the UK are the result of a genetic mutation.

"That would require too big a jump; I just don't think that's plausible at all. Such a big change just doesn't happen like that in nature."

They finally came up with a solution to answer the question of how the black squirrel came into being, by importing a black squirrel from the USA.

Genetic markers were taken and compared with a British black and the result was proof that the squirrels are descendents of American blacks that escaped from zoos.

It seems possible now that the grey squirrel has had its day and that black squirrels could become the dominant species across the UK.

The BBC Inside Out programme screens on BBC1 in the East at 1930 BST on Wednesday, 21 January.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/e ... 839653.stm

Published: 2009/01/20 11:44:39 GMT

© BBC MMIX
 

rynner2

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A whiter shade of tail makes this red squirrel stand out more than most
By Daily Mail
Last updated at 11:16 PM on 16th July 2010

Red squirrels are already a rare sight.
But this one stands out a little more than most.
With a distinctive white ring around its tail, the startling creature makes its plain red counterparts seem rather ordinary.

Wildlife photographer Mick Durham said: 'I first spotted the squirrel with the white ring band in winter last year and I nicknamed it "Ringtail".
'It certainly is one of a kind - this sort of variation is extremely rare.
‘The squirrel seems to be unaffected by it and other squirrels treated it as they do all the others - it certainly wasn’t shy.
‘As a wildlife photographer I was very excited to see it because unusual looking animals always make for interesting photography.
‘There are only a few houses near me and some of my neighbours saw it passing through their gardens but it seemed to spend more time with us - like all the other squirrels.
He joked: ‘This is no doubt because we feed them - it costs us a fortune in peanuts and hazelnuts.’

The 55-year-old, who took the photo in his garden in New Abbey, near Dumfries, added: 'The white is very definitely "natural" in that it is how the squirrel's tail colour has developed, but it is not normal.'

The red squirrel is slightly smaller than the more common grey squirrel - its body grows up to nine inches long and it weighs up to 12oz.
The colour of its coat can vary from black to red depending on the time of year and location. The red coat is most common in the UK.
The squirrel’s fur is shed twice a year, becoming thinner during the hotter months and thicker in the winter.

Numbers have drastically decreased to around 140,000 in the UK in recent years - 85 per cent of which are found in Scotland.
The decline is partly due to the invasion of the American grey squirrel, which carries a disease fatal to its red counterpart.
The gradual loss of the red squirrel’s natural woodland habitat has also been blamed for the decrease in its numbers.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... z0tvuhJFt4
 

Fluttermoth

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Interesting...
I suppose it could be a genetic mutation, but that would normally cause a white tip to the tail rather than a ring around it.
My guess is some kind of damage to the tail at a young age; most animals grow white hair on scar tissue.
 

rynner2

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Fluttermoth said:
I suppose it could be a genetic mutation, but that would normally cause a white tip to the tail rather than a ring around it.
My guess is some kind of damage to the tail at a young age; most animals grow white hair on scar tissue.
A bite on the tail might explain that.
But if the squirrel produces ringtailed offspring, we'd have to go for mutation.


Ringtail is an interesting word:

WordNet Dictionary
Noun 1. ringtail - raccoon-like omnivorous mammal of Mexico and the southwestern United States having a long bushy tail with black and white rings

Webster's 1913 Dictionary
Ring´tail`
n. 1. (Zool.) A bird having a distinct band of color across the tail, as the hen harrier.
2. (Naut.) A light sail set abaft and beyong the leech of a boom-and-gaff sail; - called also ringsail.

However, there's a sea-shanty called Whip Jamboree which has a line
"Jenny is your ringtail warm?" (Or, "Jenny keep your ringtail warm")

This is often bowdlerised to "Jenny keep your oatcakes warm", but I think we can guess that those saucy singing sailors were not thinking of oatcakes, racoons, hen harriers or even sails as they approached harbour after a long sea voyage.... ;)
 

Fluttermoth

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rynner2 said:
Fluttermoth said:
I suppose it could be a genetic mutation, but that would normally cause a white tip to the tail rather than a ring around it.
My guess is some kind of damage to the tail at a young age; most animals grow white hair on scar tissue.
A bite on the tail might explain that.
But if the squirrel produces ringtailed offspring, we'd have to go for mutation.

It would be fantastic if there were lots of baby ring-tailed squrrels around next year :D


rynner2 said:
I think we can guess that those saucy singing sailors were not thinking of oatcakes, racoons, hen harriers or even sails as they approached harbour after a long sea voyage.... ;)

As the daughter of a sailor, I shall forbare to comment ;)
 

OneWingedBird

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i shudder to consult google, but i'm guessing htere's a ringtail beaver or something? :lol:
 

Anome

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There's definitely a ringtail possum, but I suspect that "ringtail" may refer to the implied shape of part of the female anatomy. Much the sameway "split-tail" does.
 
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