Why are some squirrels black?

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Like many animals with unusual color schemes, black squirrels are the result of a genetic detour. The black squirrel is actually a gray squirrel with a faulty pigment gene carried over from the fox squirrel that turns their fur a darker shade.

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The black squirrel is the result of interspecies breeding between the gray squirrel and the fox squirrel. The fur is black due to a pigment gene carried over from the fox squirrel. Black squirrels are uncommon in the US, comprising an estimated 1 in every 10,000 squirrels.

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