Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Black Squirrels Take Over Britain?
(Art by Anthony Russo.)
As you may know from earlier posts, there's a squirrel war raging across the Atlantic. Slowly but surely, grey squirrels have been invading every last inch of the British Isles, endangering their cuter, more colorful red squirrel cousins.
But now there's been an unexpected entry into the battle. Black squirrels, the friskiest, most fearsome squirrels of all have been seizing ground from the reds AND the greys. And I'm sad to report, it may be our (America's) fault.
Scientists have already traced the invasion of grey squirrels to a pair of American squirrels which were released into the wild in 1892. (Sorry about that!) But until recently, no one knew where the black squirrels (which were first spotted 90 years ago) had come from.
Now we know that the black squirrels taking over Britain are all the descendants of American black squirrels that escaped from zoos. (Again, so sorry!)
You can read more here. I just have one question . . . There's a small population of black squirrels here in New York. (In fact, there's one that lives in the garden behind my house.) They're badly behaved, sure. But they haven't exactly kicked all the other squirrels out of town. What makes the British so sure that they're taking over the country? Just because they're Americans doesn't mean they're all bad!
(Below: Red, Grey or Black? Where do your loyalties lie?)
BREAKING NEWS: I had no idea when I wrote this post that January 21st (aside from being my mother's birthday--happy b-day, Big K!) is SQUIRREL APPRECIATION DAY!!!