Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The Black Squirrel Letter

This is a copy of an email I sent to a web page about squirrels (Amazing Squirrel Stories). We had seen some black squirrels, and I went on the web to find out about them. Here is the letter, which they called:

"Disbelief in Appleton, Wisconsin."

I drive my children to school every day along a route that roughly follows the Fox River. They attend local Catholic schools that cluster around Prospect Avenue. Prospect runs parallel to the river through Appleton's old Third Ward, past historic houses overlooking the Fox. There, amid the old oak trees around a half dozen of these historic houses, live an abundance of black squirrels.

The children and I were disbelieving the first time we saw a black squirrel. They were the same size as the gray squirrels everywhere else in Appleton, with the same large, bushy tails. I had never seen a black squirrel before and hypothesized that this was merely a gray, bushy-tailed squirrel that had gotten down someone's fireplace and had emerged soot-covered. But we all saw another black squirrel a few days later, and soon realized that a few of the yards contained not one but several specimens, all scurrying about with nuts in their mouths preparing for the winter.

We now look out for them when we drive down Prospect Avenue near Richmond Avenue. They are truly beautiful, a rare and exhilarating sight in a picturesque little city. [Candice Bradley, 11/22/98]

UPDATE July 14, 2005

A little research on some squirrel websites has revealed that black squirrels are more common in the north-midwest of the U.S. and in Canada. Apparently black squirrels are better adapted to lower temperatures than gray squirrels. For more information of black squirrels and a list of good links, go to Black Squirrels.

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