Black Squirrel in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
Black Squirrel in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Black Squirrel Squabbles

Council Bluffs, Iowa; Marysville, Kansas; Hobbs, New Mexico; Kent, Ohio; London, Ontario

The interaction between black squirrel towns is civil and downright cooperative, compared to the heated fracas between White Squirrel Towns. Black squirrels can be found in many areas mixed with other squirrels, but only a few towns practice Black Squirrel boosterism. Three municipalities at one time aggressively boasted pure black squirrel populations, but the number has shrunk to two (other areas have black squirrels, they're just not actively promoted by the towns, universities, etc. they inhabit).

Black and white squirrels -- pals at last? Craig Thom's snap at the Exeter, Ontario White Squirrel Festival.
Black and white squirrels -- pals at last? Craig Thom's snap at the Exeter, Ontario White Squirrel Festival.

Council Bluffs, IA, has had black squirrels since at least the 1840s. It also has other things to brag about besides squirrels. It lacks the fanatical eugenics policies of the white squirrel towns; we were concerned its black squirrel population was slowly disappearing through miscegenation. Citizens tell us otherwise, claiming the black squirrel population is exploding, and, in an unholy alliance with red squirrels, are spreading from their old downtown scampering grounds to all parts of the city.

Marysville, KS, bills itself as Home of the Black Squirrels and it deserves to. The town has named the black squirrel its official mascot, and holds an annual Black Squirrel Celebration. In 1987, the "Black Squirrel Song" became Marysville's official anthem:

"Lives in the city park,
runs all over town
The coal black squirrel will be our pride and joy
Many more years to come!"

The black squirrels have been here since the late 1920s, when local historians say they escaped from a travelling circus -- or was it a Gypsy caravan?

The Black Squirrels of London, Ontario begat the Black Squirrels of Kent State University.
The Black Squirrels of London, Ontario begat the Black Squirrels of Kent State University.

It's no mystery how the black squirrels arrived in Hobbs, NM. Several were "borrowed" from Marysville in 1973, in the hopes they would establish a breeding population in Hobbs' public parks. They were turned loose amid much fanfare -- and were promptly killed by red fox squirrels that Hobbs had imported earlier from Sadler, TX. Now all of Hobbs' black squirrels are gone, and Marysville isn't about to lend any more.

Black squirrels thriving in Kent State University, Ohio for the last 40 years are the basis for the annual Black Squirrel festival and BlackSquirrel run on campus . But they were first imported -- "seeded" from London, Ontario's native black squirrel population in the early 1960s.

London hopes to push the absurdity envelope with its own celebratory zeal of the ebony creatures that congregate around Victoria Park. They promote a web site, screensaver, and an amazing downloadable song (MP3).

It's a "NUTTY" music video from London, Ontario!

Also see: White Squirrel Wars

Black Squirrel Town

Center St., Marysville, KS
US Hwys 36 and 77.
Save to My Sights

Failed Black Squirrel Town

Marland Blvd, Hobbs, NM
Just west of the NM-TX border on US Hwy 180/62 at Hwy 18.
Save to My Sights

Black Squirrel Capital

Clarence St., London, ON, Canada
Town of London is north of Hwy 401, between Lake Erie and Lake Huron. Squirrels seen in Victoria Park, on the west side of Clarence St.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

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