Hannibal’s Riverview Park is the perfect habitat for black squirrels. Hannibal Parks & Recreation will offer a nature program “The Black Squirrels of Riverview” at 2 p.m. Nov. 21 at Riverview Park
The program will be guided by Gale Rublee, nature educator for Hannibal Parks & Recreation. “What’s the deal with those black squirrels? Why are they black? The black squirrel population of Riverview Park and beyond are unique but not alone in the world. Let’s find out what makes them different and the same as other squirrels.”
Riverview Park is Hannibal’s largest park, with almost 500 acres, it’s also on the National Register of Historic Places. And because of its expansive woods and natural resources, it’s a perfect habitat for black squirrels.
Visitors to Riverview Park can often find the black squirrels scampering from tree to tree. According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, black squirrels are most likely a genetic variation of the grey squirrel. The eastern gray squirrel is slender and smaller than the fox squirrel; the total length (tip of nose to tip of tail) reaches about 21 inches. There is some research that shows that the black fur offer benefits in colder weather, allowing the squirrels to absorb and retain more heat.
Riverview Park is often called the jewel of the Hannibal park system. The park was donated to the city by Hannibal philanthropist Wilson B. Pettibone and his wife, Laura, in 1909.
Rublee said the nature program is appropriate for all ages. Rublee is a nationally certified Interpreter guide and founding member of the Hannibal area Missouri Master Naturalist Mississippi Hills chapter.
Nature programs are free but reservations must be made by calling the Hannibal Parks & Recreation office at 573-221-0154 or emailing mlrichards@hannibal-mo.gov