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July 9, 2013 / Rae Spencer

Unique

Squirrel July 7

There’s nothing unique about this photo. Another squirrel in the bird feeder.

Except…

Squirrel July 7

I usually can’t identify individual squirrels in the yard, but I suspect this one is unique. It’s smaller than many of the yard’s other squirrels, and much more cautious. Understandably so.

Squirrel July 7

It seldom lingers in the feeder. Rather than settling in for a feast, it inches down the post, grabs a mouthful of seed, and retreats to the wax myrtle’s overhanging branches, where it can eat in relative safety.

Squirrel July 7

It also checks the far side of the fence much more frequently than our other squirrels.

Squirrel July 7

The first time I saw the tail-less squirrel bounding across our yard, I suffered a moment of intense confusion. It looked more like a very thin rabbit than a squirrel. A thin rabbit with short legs and even shorter ears. But then the strange rabbit scurried up a tree trunk, and my confusion transformed into amazement.

How does a squirrel with no tail survive in the wild? How does it balance as it races through the trees? How does it communicate, and what are its chances of reproducing?

Squirrel July 7

I’m tempted to ask other questions, as well, questions rooted in human perceptions of beauty and resilience. But such questions have no answers, and the world already has too many questions that can’t be answered.

4 Comments

  1. Kami Tilby / Jul 9 2013 2:10 PM

    I love that you recognized this individual squirrel and paid him homage of sorts. I always wish I recognized individual birds in my yard, but barring injuries, it’s often difficult to tell them apart. I’m sure each critter has its own story that would be fun to know.

  2. Random Acts of Writing / Jul 10 2013 12:10 PM

    There was a cat at the local shelter with a small tail like that. They called her “Boo Boo.” : )

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