Rare Sabre-Toothed Squirrel Spotted in Prince’s Island Park

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Sabre-Toothed Squirrel Mystifies Scientists

Scientists are flummoxed as sightings of the extremely rare and long thought to be extinct Sabre-toothed Squirrel have been reported on Prince’s Island in Calgary, Alberta. One observer was even able to capture a never before seen photograph of the extraordinary breed. Scientists don’t quite know what to make of the news, saying it must be some sort of unprecedented genetic throw-back dating back to the Pleistocene epoch.

The Eastern Grey Squirrel

Alright, maybe those protrusions aren’t really the deadly sharp canines they appear to be. Maybe they’re just a couple of peanuts in the shell we threw to our adept little friend, the Eastern Grey Squirrel. Despite their name, Eastern Grey squirrels are not always grey. Some are grey, some are black and some are cinnamon. The Eastern Grey Squirrel is not native to Calgary. According to one source (weaslehead.org), Tom Baines, the director of the Calgary Zoo in 1938, obtained seven squirrels for display purposes on a visit to Ontario. The squirrels soon multiplied, and, as an experiment, six pairs were released beside the Elbow River, in the Elbow Park area of Calgary.

Since then, the squirrels have spread throughout the entire city and they’re thriving. City life seems to suit them, mostly because the city holds few of their natural enemies (hawks, Great Horned Owls, coyotes and weasels). The automobile is the biggest predator for these urban squirrels. Eastern Grey Squirrels do not hibernate. During stormy weather, they stay in their shelters, perhaps eating some food from their caches (or waiting patiently for a friend to bring them some of their favourite treats).

 

Image Credit:

Eastern Grey Squirrel by madlyinlovewithlife; © 2011 madlyinlovewithlife

24 thoughts on “Rare Sabre-Toothed Squirrel Spotted in Prince’s Island Park

  1. I love this black squirrel. Holland, Michigan has black squirrels and we don’t…it’s only about a 45 minute drive away. Such a funny shot :)

    • Thanks, Dianne! It’s so interesting that these squirrels reside in a town only 45 minutes from you, but not where you live! This is the first time we’d ever seen a squirrel manage to put two peanuts into his mouth in this fashion. He actually took quite a bit of time to get it right (which is why I had time for a shot!). It was so funny to see!

  2. Hello Jeannie!
    Oh my goodness, absolutely adorable and hilarious and brilliant :)
    It’s 3am in Tokyo (I really should be getting to bed) and my uncontrollable laughter might wake the whole neighborhood. I think I’ll have some happy dreams tonight. Two thumbs up!!!!

    • Hello Takamai! This guy made us laugh too. We’d never seen a squirrel ever take more than one peanut before. This guy, however, was completely determined to get two peanuts in mouth and he spent a surprisingly long time meticulously manipulating and rearranging each peanut in his mouth to get them just so. I was delighted it was taking him so long because it gave me the time to get a shot (usually these guys are so fast my shots are all blurred!). We had a good laugh then and still laugh every time we see this photo. I’m glad this guy could give you a chuckle too! Wishing you sweet dreams! :))

  3. Jeannie, I love this tongue-in-cheek post about the black squirrels in your area! So cute, so sweet! You know, in northern Indiana, where I live, there are no black squirrels. But in nothern Michigan there are black squirrels, and seeing them always gives me a thrill! I just love squirrels anyway, no matter the color, and I can spend lots of time just standing at the window watching them play and frolic. Thanks for this most excellent post! Oh … and what a perfect, wonderful photo as well! :)

    • Hi Debra! Thanks so much! I’m totally with you on the high entertainment value in squirrel watching—I never tire of their antics. This guy was hilarious to watch as he stuffed these two peanuts in his mouth. Have a great week ahead! :))

  4. I’m so glad you made it out of there alive ;-) . We have lots of black squirrels here in Vancouver, and they’re always willing to take a peanut from you, but I’ve never seen one quite as dexterious as your little fella there. That’s quite a trick.

  5. Clever little guy having perfected the two-peanut pickup which I understand is a very difficult maneuver… even for a squirrel..

  6. Wonderful shot of the squirrel holding the nuts Jeannie and your accompanying story made me laugh.Love your creative mind! Squirrels in our yard drive our Chloe crazy.She can sit under a tree for hours trying to catch them.Have a wonderful day~

    • Thanks, Koji! I actually haven’t seen too many squirrels hit by cars. In our neighborhood, they often use the electrical wires on telephone poles as an overpass and cross busy streets that way! :))

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