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Mutant Squirrels At Large

Mutant Squirrels At Large

By Mark Steer

Britain's grey squirrel population is being overrun by mutant black squirrels say researchers from Cambridge.

The mutants are more aggressive and highly territorial, but so far have not exhibited any special powers - such as the ability to walk through trees or teleport acorns. But the possibility that they are raising a clone army to wage war on the greys has not yet been completely ruled out.

First spotted in 1912, mutant squirrels have coexisted peacefully with greys for the best part of a century. In the last few years, however, they have begun to turn the screw. Blacks produce more testosterone, giving them that winning edge in a fight.

Black squirrels: still dirty varmints, just slightly dirtier.
"The population is expanding across the region and is spreading further every year," geneticist Helen McRobie, who conducted the study on black squirrels at Anglia Ruskin University, told the Daily Telegraph. "They could overrun most of the eastern counties within 10 years."

Conservationists aren't particularly worried, however, as black squirrels are the same species as greys. That's the same species that was introduced into the UK by the Victorians and has since wiped out our native (and much prettier) red squirrel.

So all in all, whether they're black or grey, they're still fluffy-tailed vermin.

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Title image: J.G. Black Squirrel: Lee-Ann Carriere

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21 Aug 2017
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