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The difference between gray and black squirrels

Gray Squirrels

Native to eastern and Midwestern United States and southern eastern Canada the gray squirrel is a scatter-hoarder. So, it hides numerous food sources in different locations or caches. Every squirrel makes thousands of caches each season.

Gray squirrels eat a range of foods including tree bark, tree buds, berries, seeds and nuts. Squirrels have adjusted to living with humans and have been known to raid bird feeders and gardens. In the wild, gray squirrels inhabit large areas of mature and dense woodland. These areas usually contain a lot of understory vegetation providing sufficient food and shelter. Generally, they’ll make dens on large tree branches or hollow tree trunks.

Gray squirrels breed twice per year, once from December to February and again May to July. On average females have one to four babies in each litter. But, only one of four young survive to one year old. At 12 weeks babies leave the nest and explore the environment around them.

New born baby squirrels removed from an attic. They will be reunited with their mother outside.

New born baby squirrels removed from an attic. They will be reunited with their mother outside.

Black Squirrels

A subgroup of the gray squirrel. Commonly found in Midwestern United States and eastern Canada. They share a lot of the same behaviour and attributes as the gray squirrel. Gray mating pairs of squirrels cannot produce black babies. Gray squirrels have two copies of a normal pigment gene and black squirrels have one or two copies of a mutant pigment gene. This creates their different fur colours.

A litter of baby squirrels containing both gray and black.

A litter of baby squirrels containing both gray and black.

Before settlers and deforestation the darker fur was better for camouflaging with older growth forests that tended to be very dense and shaded. However, with human development the gray squirrel had more of a biological advantage.

Most of the black squirrel population is found in the northern parts of their habitat range. Black squirrels have an increased cold tolerance and lose less heat than gray squirrels. It makes them more adaptable to harsher winter conditions. In comparison there can be as few as 1 in 10,000 black squirrels over grays. Due to their rarity some places promote their booming black squirrel population. Also, they’re used as unofficial mascots for universities and sports teams.

Squirrel damage from chewing inside an attic.

Squirrel damage from chewing inside an attic.

Ottawa squirrel removal

Ottawa is home to both black and gray squirrels while on the island of Montreal black squirrels are virtually on heard of.

Both colours of squirrel will make their home in structures and buildings. Damage can lead to very expensive repairs.
If you find any evidence of squirrels in your attic call Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control. Our proven squirrel removal process is humane, effective and prevents re-entry.

Call today! 1-888-592-0387

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About the author:Founder of Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control in 1989. Canada's largest urban wildlife removal and exclusion company. Industry leader and pioneer. Split, Scram, Scoot! However you want to say it, Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control has helped over 200,000 home owners and businesses safely and effectively resolve their wildlife issues. Happy to discuss business and franchising opportunities

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