Plague of giant black squirrels/Schwarze Eichhörnchen vor den Toren

It’s a curious fact about the red squirrel, quite common in Germany, that some of them are black. Here’s a Wikimedia picture:

They are sometimes much blacker than that, but the same size as the red squirrel and obviously similar.

Now recently it has come to the attention of Germans that the UK is overrun with immigrant US grey squirrels – sciurus carolinensis. This is not exactly news, but the Guardian did recommend them as the ultimate ethical meal.

Somehow the local paper has got it into its head that sciurus carolinensis is black, and it is quick to report – with photo – that not every black squirrel is bad:

Das rote Eichhörnchen ist uns vertraut und jedem schon einmal über den Weg gelaufen. Und jetzt sollen, so heißt es, seine Tage gezählt sein. Das ist glücklicherweise nur ein Gerücht. Im Süden Englands haben sich allerdings die ausgewilderten und fast doppelt so großen schwarzen Eichhörnchen stark vermehrt. Die typischen rotfarbenen europäischen Eichhörnchen wurden mittlerweile in den Norden Englands verdrängt. Nicht jedes schwarze Eichhörnchen ist aber ein Nachfahre der amerikanischen Tiere. Das hier abgebildete Exemplar aus dem Landkreis Fürth ist einfach nur eine Farbvariante des uns vertrauten fuchsfarbenen Eichhörnchens. Sein Vorkommen beschränkt sich jedoch auf den süddeutschen Raum und ist auch dort nicht so häufig anzutreffen wie seine roten Vettern.

I’m not too sure that the grey squirrel should be described as ‘ausgewildert’, as if it had been a mink that escaped from a mink farm. Anyway, here is one of the nasty creatures photographed by myself in the south of England:

They have rather nice silvery tails, but I suppose that won’t do them any good if they’re not integrated.

LATER NOTE: I have obviously missed out on the ‘mutant’ black squirrel, which is a variant of the grey.

It has already taken over in parts of England and appears to be spreading.
Its rise means the greys now have serious competition for the first time since they were introduced to Britain from America in the 1870s.
The black squirrel is also likely to make life even harder for our native red squirrels.
A study by Cambridge scientists shows that black squirrels now make up half the squirrel population in some parts of the UK.
The upstarts are genetic mutations of greys, but have a darker fur and higher levels of the male sex hormone testosterone – making them more aggressive and more successful.

Well, I’d give them some peanuts if I met them.

4 thoughts on “Plague of giant black squirrels/Schwarze Eichhörnchen vor den Toren

  1. They had black squirrels in Letchworth and concerned persons told me I was lucky to see them because they were dying out. They’d actually just all b-ed off to the Black Forest.

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