Rare black squirrel sighted in East Cambs

PUBLISHED: 13:33 10 December 2012

The black squirrel seen in Sutton

The black squirrel seen in Sutton

Archant

A RARE black squirrel has been spotted hopping about in Sutton.

The squirrel, one of only 25,000 in the UK, compared with an estimated 2.5million greys, was snapped on an mobile phone camera by Sutton Park resident Britni Edwards, who says it is a regular visitor.

She said: “We get some wonderful wildlife in the area, we have a lot of foxes, muntjac deer and woodpeckers but to see something as rare as a black squirrel is quite exciting.

“He or she is quite a frequent visitor, we worry when we don’t see it and tt’s also quite surprising, considering how close to the busy A142 we are.”

According to Anglia Ruskin University, which launched its Black Squirrel Project last year, it’s exactly 100 years since the first black squirrel was recorded in the UK in Woburn, Bedfordshire, in 1912.

The Black Squirrel Project is part of a study being undertaken by Helen McRobie, lecturer within the department of life sciences at the university, to gather data on the black squirrel within the UK and they have so far had 4,000 reports.

Black squirrels originate from North America and are the same species as grey squirrels, though a missing piece of DNA on a gene that controls pigment means they can only produce black fur.

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