Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Retarded Inbred Squirrels
If I Had Time I'd Write You a Shorter Post

Today I spied my first ever black squirrel on W4th street between Charles and Perry. The tail wasn't very bushy and it was less skittish about being chased by Stan. In fact it was pretty slow getting away and up a tree. Stan tried to climb the tree and made desperate bird like noises at it but only got as far as putting his paws on the cast iron foot tall gate surrounding the tree. The construction workers who are perpetually working on the restaurant formerly known as Anton's laughed at him.

I saw another or the same black squirrel on Charles street on our second walk. This time the black squirrel was just as slow getting up a tree but carrying a whole peanut. Stan just as psyched. I wondered where the squirrel got the peanut. Stan and I were gaping at the squirrel for a good long while, probably because I'm spaced out on cold medicine and he's a dog who loves to hate squirrels. I enjoyed watching Stan watch the squirrel go to the top of the tree because this one didn't blend in with the bark. It was roundabout then that I noticed two happy and well dressed black women with a baby in a carriage were walking down Charles and laughing at us.

I volunteered, "He likes squirrels." They looked at me with one part interest, 3 parts pity. I felt I needed to justify myself more and I said, "Have you ever seen a black squirrel?" They looked at the squirrel and then I worried they thought I was making a racist comment so feeling the need to explain myself more I added, "They are so beautiful, but I've never seen a black squirrel, have you?"

At this point the women think I'm borderline insane. One finally says, "No, I haven't actually" and they politely ran away scooting down the block as fast at those stroller wheels would take them.

I sniffled my way back home and to the bat computer, where I was sure there was a wealth of black squirrel information, or at the very least, other dolts like me declaring they'd seen a black squirrel.

After learning that if you google "black squirrel new york" the first entry you get is a listing for gay bars, I got my answer.

Check this out:

Squirrels are evolving in New York City.

At Riverside Park on the West Side of Manhattan there are cinnamon colored squirrels. At Grammarcy Park and several other parks around the city you'll find black and dark brown squirrels. But these aren't new species but rather variants of the eastern gray squirrel.

According to Robert S. Voss, curator of mammalogy at the American Museum of Natural History, cinnamon and black coloration genes exist in the eastern gray squirrel population, in fact, in all squirrel populations. Through in-breeding, these recessive traits have come out. City parks form islands, because the streets, sidewalks and buildings of New York are too inhospitable to the squirrels to permit them to mix with squirrels elsewhere in the city. Plus, the urban environment has eliminated almost all squirrel predators. Cinnamon and black colored squirrels are usually at a disadvantage because they stand out against gray tree trunks and so are easier targets for predators. But with the predators eliminated the variant colored squirrels are able to survive.

The above taken from Darwin chat.

And then there's a cheap web page filled with crackpot theories that looks like it has been abandoned in cyber space called the Squirrels in Black. I found this page oddly comforting.

And the moral is: no moral, just another page for my fellow New Yorkers to find should they ever doubt their sanity upon encountering a black squirrel while hopped up on cold medicine.