Let this article serve as another reminder/reason to get out and enjoy all that Mother Nature has to offer - you might just discover something that you never knew existed. Or, you can do as I did and not go outside, but instead, get online and learn from what other people discovered out in the wild. Think of it as one of those "do as I say, not as I do" situations.

Black squirrel in Indiana
Erin Rose via Facebook

I just learned two things thanks to a picture taken by Erin Rose and shared on the Indiana Nature Lovers Facebook page...

  1. There is such a thing as black squirrels. I had never seen one - didn't even know they existed.
  2. Black squirrels can be seen in parts of Indiana.
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Where in Indiana Can I See a Black Squirrel?

The picture above was taken in South Bend, and several of the commenters mention seeing them in the northern part of the state. One of the experts from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) explains further...

Michigan is known for having a lot of black-phase gray squirrels, so northern Indiana communities are often more likely to see populations of black squirrels, but they are not exclusive to any one part of the state. In the early 1900s, people moved black squirrels around because they liked their appearance, so they can crop up all over.
Photo by Jennifer on Unsplash
Photo by Jennifer on Unsplash

Why Are Some Squirrels Black?

I wish I could tell you that there is some crazy origin story that led to black squirrels being a thing - perhaps a grey squirrel somehow mating with a skunk or something wacky like that. Alas, there really isn't anything weird about it. Black squirrels, at least in Indiana, are simply grey squirrels that have a variant pigment gene, causing their fur to be black. They are pretty much just like any other gray squirrel when it comes to behavior and diet. Just like other squirrels, they enjoy nuts and berries and can be found in areas with trees, including city parks and yards.

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Gallery Credit: Dave Fields

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