I like squirrels. I had a pet squirrel as a kid, named Squirrelly, who we shared with our neighbors. He was cute and fun, though he made a lot of noise running in his wheel at night. Later he lived in our treehouse until we let him go.
Here in central Texas, we mostly have the fox squirrels, which are bigger and have more tan on them than the other ones, the gray squirrels, which are what you mostly see east of here. We do have some of each. They dig lots of holes, which mean the dogs think there’s treasure in there (acorns).
A couple of days ago, while Anita and I were walking the dogs, I saw a squirrel in the greenbelt with a black head and tail, with a gray middle. That was some cool genetics happening there! I’ve seen a black one near where I work, too.
Of course, some places have lots of interesting squirrel variations. I remember white squirrels in Baton Rouge, for example.
You always know when the Property Brothers (that’s a TV show) are in Toronto when you see the black ones running around. I have a deep connection with the black squirrels of Toronto, since I was walking down a side street one day when one tried to jump off a building into a young tree, but the tree couldn’t hold it. It landed on my head. All I knew was that suddenly there was a THUMP and scritching on my head. A little old dude excitedly pointed down the road and shouted, “Skwi-rrell!” in a cute accent. Then we all laughed our heads off in the middle of Yonge Street.
And at the Hermits’ Rest?
Well, interestingly enough, we have very few squirrels at the ranch. I’ve seen one or two, and the neighbor saw one last week. But really, there aren’t many. The office in town has PLENTY of them, however.
My slighty educated guess (after all, I’ll be a REAL Master Naturalist after tonight) is that there are so many predators out in the countryside that the population is kept low. We have so many hawks, owls, coyotes, giant snakes, and big cats out there. It’s no wonder that there are not many squirrels (though there are a reasonable number of cottontail rabbits).