Black Squirrels Move to England, Stirring…Racism?

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.”

Huh?

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

‘I Was the Squirrelman’s Neighbor’

Yesterday I brought you the interesting tale of Dave “Squirrelman” Csaky, who until recently, lived in a treehouse. He trains squirrels and lives like a squirrel, hence why I wrote about him.

Csaky got kicked out his treehouse, and is now living in a donated old RV. It’s easy to sympathize with Csaky’s in-the-branches lifestyle — how cool that someone bucks societal normals and lives up in a tree. Now Seattle Post-Intelligencer photographer Josh Trujillo brings you the other side of the story, and some great photos to boot.

“His life was not something one would be envious of. Living in the tree was tough. It swayed during windstorms, leaked when it rained, was cold, loud and maybe a bit scary. He was proud of his construction – even though he claimed he had no idea what he was doing – and often would jump up and down on the plywood laid over 2x4s – 40 feet up.”

Living in a Treehouse Photo Gallery
(#15 shows him caring for his pet squirrel, Tilt. And #19, his pet rat.)

Presidential Candidate Cooked Squirrels in a Popcorn Popper?

A New York Times opinion piece is making the rounds on squirrel blogs this week about ex-Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee. The essay pokes fun at Mike’s full embrace of his redneck roots, and one passage in particular has squirrel enthusiasts atwitter. Yes, it sounds horrible, but I know my share of rednecks and they don’t regularly take part in this sort of activity:

“Huckabee revels in the class war. He’s Two-Buck Huck, and darn proud of it. He likes nothing better than playing the Hick from Hope. He and his wife lived in a trailer for a while, he points out. His son killed a dog one summer, “a mangy dog” at that, as Huckabee explained to the befuddled national press corps. He said he used to eat squirrels, cooking them up in his popcorn popper. Ewwwwhhh!”