Black Squirrel at Shaw Nature Reserve

January 22, 2018

A black squirrel (melanistic gray squirrel) takes a break from foraging at the edge of a prairie at Shaw Nature Reserve.

Anybody who has spent much time at Shaw Nature Reserve (SNR) has likely had at least a glimpse of one of the rare black squirrels that can be found on the area. The black squirrels of SNR are actually gray squirrels with gene mutations that leave them either all black, or black over brown such as this one. Fox squirrels also can be melanistic, but every black squirrel I’ve seen at SNR has been very small and in the presence of other gray squirrels. I’ve been watching and photographing these arboreal anomalies for years, but this morning I captured my best image yet of one in a field adjacent to the high prairie near the Maritz Trail House. By the way, every black squirrel I’ve seen and photographed at SNR has been in the vicinity of the Maritz Trail House. But don’t get your hopes up of spotting or photographing one, now that I’ve narrowed down the search zone. As I’ve always said, “You just can’t trust wildlife,” and the black squirrels of Shaw Nature Reserve are no exception.


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I have learned that to be with those I like is enough.

Walt Whitman

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