a black squirrel

An Exotic Evolution, from the WaPo

Because the history of Washington has been written by humans, nobody has paid much attention to the fact that 18 Canadian squirrels were released at the National Zoo during the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt.

Legend had it at my alma mater, UMass Amherst, that black squirrels were invented there, or rather bred there. The legend went that the black squirrel was an experiment in selective breeding at Mass Aggie (the land-grant university precursor to UMass), that somehow escaped. Well, so much for that legend.

The WaPo article says:

To the east, the squirrels crossed the city a few decades ago to colonize the National Arboretum and Capitol Hill. To the south, they made it across the Potomac River into Arlington, where naturalists say they’ve seen black squirrels since at least the 1980s.

Well, let me tell you, they’ve spread a heck of a lot farther than that. There were a lot of black squirrels in Amherst, and that was more than 10 years ago now. Heavens knows how far they might have spread since. Though I don’t recall having seen any around the Triangle.

And then this article takes a turn towards the slapstick:

Flyger… used to smear a tree behind his Silver Spring home with a mixture of peanut butter and Valium and then tattoo the squirrels that he found passed out below.

And then the squirrels wake up in Shanghai, find themselves pressed into service aboard a galley, and made to row.