Thursday, May 19, 2005

Black Squirrel Attack!


Black squirrel on University of Maryland's campus. Courtesy of the The Diamondback.

If you've ever been to Maryland's campus, you've seen these disgusting, aggressive rodents all over the place. Today the Washington Post chronicles the history of the black squirrel in and around Washington.

Because the history of Washington has been written by humans, nobody has
paid much attention to the fact that 18 Canadian squirrels were released at the
National Zoo during the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt.

But, if the capital's story were ever told by its rodents, few events would
be more prominent than this one.

That's because those 18 squirrels -- whose coats of lustrous black set them
apart from the native animals -- were the beginning of a shift that has changed
the complexion of Washington's backyard critters. Now, probably because of a
slight evolutionary advantage conveyed with a black coat, the descendants of
these squirrels have spread all the way into Rockville and Prince William
County.

Here's The Diamondback story from a few years ago on black squirrels.