Douglas squirrels have evolved to be the colors they are because those are the colors that best camouflage the squirrels in their natural environment. As the colors of their environments change, the squirrels’ coats change color as well: in summer, the douglas squirrel is gray on its back and orange-brown on its feet and belly, and in the winter the back is brown and the belly is grayish. You can imagine that when a predator sees the squirrel’s back, its belly will be up against something, like a tree trunk or the ground, and when the predator sees the belly, it is usually looking up, such as when the squirrel is on a branch. The light from the sky makes better for lighter camouflage on the belly and darker camouflage on the back. You see this pattern in fish colors as well.
Melanin formed by pigment cells that are deposited on the cortex and medulla layers of a hair follicle cause hair colorations black, brown or shades of red or yellow. The Douglas Squirrel, native to coniferous forests along the west coast, is noted for its reddish and brownish gray coloration that adapts to seasonal changes.
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