Sunday, August 12, 2012

Unique pictures of Chicago's Black Squirrel

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One of my absolute favorite animals by far is a special Black Squirrel which is unique to Chicago. So far in my lifetime, I have only seen one on the north side of Chicago near where I do my Sunday morning radio show.

Squirrels can be annoying. And given that the vast majority that I have seen are an ugly, boring gray, they are not very popular. The urban legends, which may or may not be true, is that if a squirrel bites you, you'll have to get that series of painful rabies shots. Of course, most squirrels run when approached by humans, but will fight with rabbits and crows, so the odds of knowing whether that is true or not are pretty high.

But a Black squirrel is a beautiful sight. Amazing fur and deep black. It stands out. You can't miss it.

The Black color makes the squirrel look a lot less like a "rat," and more of a potential pet.. Maybe that's why over the past 300 years, the population of black squirrels has diminished to the point where they are so rare. People either killed them for the fur or trying to capture them. Squirrels do not like to be caged at all and will go berserk and screech like a demon until released.

A few years back, I had two squirrels in the throes of matrimony apparently chew their way through the sofit and facia to get into the roof of my home. They seemed to love to prance around during the day collecting nuts and acting nutty but at night they were raising a real noisy ruckus. So I had to try to flush them out of the house and back into their usual nest of browned leaves twined together by sticks and string they collect. (And maybe so squirrel spit, too.)

They just refused to leave.

So, I checked to make sure there were no babies in the roof and waited until I could confirm they were both inside. When they were, I closed the opening, and stuck my hand into the roof with two cans of insect fogger and filled it up. Within a minute, outside, the stuffing in the whole pushed out and the squirrels jumped out of the hole onto the roof screaming like hyenas. One after the other.

They were mad. But as soon as I knew they were out, I permanently closed the opening to keep them out using "Stuff," the foaming junk that sprays and grows and hardens. Then I had to spend $3,500 to re-do the gutters, sofit and facia around the entire house.

Here are some pictures of the Black Squirrel to which I have rededicated this column to reflect my Chicagoland upbringing.


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