Black Squirrels Becoming More Common

I had never seen a black squirrel until I moved to New York City in 2003. If you’ve never seen one, they look very similar to grey squirrels, but their black fur is softer and silkier looking. They are shiny, too.

As explained in a great Daily News article, black squirrels are a mutation from the regular everyday ordinary (and quite common) gray squirrel. Normally, they wouldn’t thrive in the “wild” because they can’t blend in as well. However, in urban environments — with their plethora of black surfaces — black squirrels can thrive. They are now fairly common all over the Eastern seaboard.

In Long Island, one elementary school has even launched a study program on black squirrels. (How fun — I never did anything so hands-on in elementary school!)

These pint-size biologists go out in the field and collect data: counting the black and gray squirrels they see, along with their nests, and taking soil and air temperature readings.

Armed with hand-held GPS units, they also track the locations where they spot black squirrels and plug that data into computer mapping programs, such as Google Earth.

“They put thumbtacks everywhere they saw black squirrels so that they can see …where they’re clustering,” Miller said.

17 thoughts on “Black Squirrels Becoming More Common

  1. I am a state licensed wildlife rehabber specializing in squirrels, and read the News article too, since I live in the area, and marveled at the fact that they’d just only now discovered black squirrels.

    The melanistic phase of the eastern gray has been here on the Island for at least 5 years if not more, though now they are becoming so much more common.

    New York City and, to the north, Westchester County, has enjoyed these creatures for much longer. It was only a matter of time that we out east got our fair share too!

    Love your blog, by the way.

  2. why do squirrels dig up flowers?. Also why do they eat them?.

  3. Saw one today while running in Saxon Woods near the Weinberg Nature Center. First time. Very cool.

  4. there is a black squirrel who is also wondering around my block and I followed it today with my dog and it looked to be following or chasing a grey squirrel. I researched them and read they were “mutanant” Im going to follow it some more and maybe even feed it, I hope its not dangerous.

  5. I am from the Bronx and have been feeding black squirrels since the early 1980’s when I was a little kid. There used to be alot more. It seems like the greys are taking over as they are more aggressive. I find it funny that people are just discovering black squirrels.

  6. Spotted one in West Philadelphia 3/14/2014, Think he took a wrtong turn!

  7. I feed the birds in my back yard and squirrels come and eat up the seeds as well when I noticed a black squirrel which I never had seen before or even knew they existed. It was really cool to see a black squirrel but he ran away and didn’t come back to munch on the seeds.

  8. I am from the central jersey area and have been all my life. Just started seeing these squirrels in the past 3 years. Kinda weird really ,when you see them in snow. Had a friend from India here and all she could do was laugh at how startling the contrast was .

  9. I was driving down a back road in Oley, Pennsylvania and spotted a jet black squirrel. I didn’t even know they existed until I Google it. So Beautiful.

  10. I live in Illinois and I saw my first Black Squirrel today

  11. Black squirrels are the norm in Toronto (Ontario). There are more here than grey ones. It has been found that black squirrels hold more heat, so maybe that’s why they are so prevalent here.
    On a sad note today, we found our favourite squirrel whom we called Momma mauled and decomposing in the small park we go to after work. We used to feed her nuts and seeds so that she could make more milk for her family. RIP Momma.

  12. I’ve learned people should not be hand feeding squirrels as we were with the Momma squirrel. The one day she must have been very hungry and kept coming back and even coming up on the seat of the picnic bench. My wife was getting a bit spooked out by her and was repeating no more, no more and even clapped her hands a coupe of times. She did go away but at the same time this whole scenario could have panicked her into bitting us as this article points out……..


    I have a black squirrel lingering around my property in West Islip, Long Island (Sept. 2016)

  14. I saw my first black squirrel in Hopewell Jct. N.Y. Today

  15. First time I’ve ever seen them was this week in Port Huron traveling east…KOA… what a novelty for me…. then again in Niagara Falls ny area.

  16. Seen My very first Black squirrel on a local back road, Port Crane NY , Fall weather changes I guess brought it out to harvest for winter. Picture time I hope so I can share with others.

  17. I visited my brother at the Bronx VA Hospital on Kingsbridge Rd, Bronx, since 1953 [Viet Nam War] and saw black squirrels there since then. I was told they were only found there and a little bit up into Westchester County. They had sleek, smooth black coats and would come up to eat out of your hand and liked to be petted which was nice for the wheelchair vets when they sat outside. I haven’t been back since the late 60’s but thought it natural they would spread, but I know nothing of their origin. I never saw an aggressive one, or one that caused a problem. I wondered if the new air conditioned hospital, with fewer vets sitting outside, changed their “residence”.

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