by Greg Mayer
Last Saturday (Jan. 21) was Squirrel Appreciation Day, and I sort of missed it. We’ve considered squirrels and their polymorphisms here at WEIT many times, so in belated celebration, here’s a nice squirrel.
I didn’t miss it entirely, because Saturday was the day that one of my colleagues, who visited Costa Rica over the Christmas break, gave me a copy of her photograph of this beauty. The variegated squirrel is highly variable in color pattern: the NW Costa Rican subspecies is grayish white with black dorsal stripe (sort of like a skunk in negative).
The Washington Post’s John Kelly seems to have a thing for squirrels, and has done stories on squirrels and squirrel researchers, including my colleague Dick “Thor” Thorington of the Smithsonian. He has gotten readers to submit squirrel photos, and there’s a great slide show of them at the Post, including melanics,
and ones being watched by cats.
Most of the pix are from the DC area, so the squirrels are mostly gray squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis), but there are fox squirrels, flying squirrels, red squirrels, European red squirrels, and probably others in the show; it’s a good test of squirrel-id’ing ability.
Although we missed Squirrel Appreciation Day, we can begin our preparations now for Squirrel Week, which this year is April 8-14. Check out Kelly’s blog for updates and other squirrel articles.