The Washington City Paper blog has an intriguing article on the emerging presence of black squirrels in the U.K.
For those of you that have never seen them, black squirrels look just like greys, but are darker and have silkier hair. I think they’re prettier, and I’d been told that they were simply a genetic variant – much like the many hues of kittens that can be found in just one litter.
Apparently, however, it appears that the British press — already worried about the decimation of the local, indigenous red squirrel population (the original Squirrel Nutkin was a red squirrel) — is now fussing over the emergence of black squirrels, blaming the black squirrels as being more “testosterone-charged… fitter, faster and more fiercely competitive than both reds or greys.”
Also: “Sex selection is also boosting their numbers because female greys appear to prefer them as mates.”
Yes, I’m starting to giggle now.
The City Paper‘s criticism: “The Black Squirrel Heads to England, Inspires Subtly Racist Science Reporting”
and the U.K. Daily Mail article that is mentioned: “The pack of mutant black squirrels that are giving Britain’s grey population a taste of their own medicine“