In the city of Chicago, how can you tell the
difference between a red colored version of the gray squirrel vs a
fox squirrel? (any pictures?)
I also had a full black squirrel and a black squirrel with a
reddish belly, (the offspring of the black male and a mixed
gray/red female). Where did the black squirrels come from?
I live in your area and a "red colored version of the gray squirrel"
does not offically exiast, however, grey squirrels often are seen with reddish
or copper fur.
Grey Squirrel [Scientific Name: Sciurus caroliniensis]
Fox squirrel [Scientific Name: Sciurus niger]
Black squirrels are Fox squirrels which have a gene that occasionally
show a black appearance in a population.
One town in Illinois has all black fox squirrels.
After growing up outside of Chicago myself, I have seen these black
squirrels you are talking about! A gray squirrel will grow to be about 17-20
inches long. A fox squirrel will grow to be around 19-28 inches long.
Basically, the fox squirrel is much bigger. Another way to tell the two
apart is by the tail. A eastern gray squirrel will have silvery-tipped tail
hairs. The black coloration is a phase common to the gray squirrel in the
more northern regions where they live, whereas the black phase of the fox
squirrel is found further south. My guess would be that your black squirrels
are eastern gray squirrels. Some scientists think that the black squirrels
are actually a different species while others attribute them to differences
in genetics, yet still being a gray squirrel. They have yet to come to a
conclusion that I know of. Try looking online for pictures at
www.nationalgeographic.com. Here you can put in your zip code and find
species that live in your area.
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Update: June 2012