Gosh darn it! Squirrels are cute.

No two ways about it. These little rodents have a lock on cuteness. This array of white, red and gray squirrels was found in the same back yard in Minnesota. Some years, there there have been solid black squirrels alongside the white, romping around the yard’s many trees. The white squirrel is a true albino with red eyes. We hope he can evade the hawks and coyotes.

Hard for this fellow to hide in any season but winter.
Red squirrel scampers for corn and seeds dropped from the bird feeder. This l’il guy had a red friend with whom he played tag. (or whatever squirrels play.)

Getting a little squirrelly around here

The last time we visited our aunt and uncle in Minnesota, we were mesmerized by the black and albino squirrels skittering around the backyard. Two years later, the yard still had a good population of squirrels, but the black ones were gone and just one albino remained.

There’s a surprising amount of literature devoted to coat color in gray squirrels. Black is apparently one of three color variants found in gray squirrels. As in other animals,  albinism is rare, however, according to one article, albinism in squirrels can run in colonies. I remember one such colony in Verona Park, Verona, N.J., during the 1980s.

ON A LIMB — Albino squirrel clings to the knob of a limb.

VISIBILITY — Albinism is an obvious  summertime disadvantage for tree and ground-dwellers, even ones living in a  somewhat protected environment such as a suburban backyard. Four days after we first saw the squirrel, he appeared with a bloody patch on his chest, a mauled ear and his white coat mottled with blood. He managed to survive his wounds, at least in the short term. Should he survive into the Minnesota winter, the odds are in his favor. 

WELL-MATCHED — Sciurus carolinensis in its normal coloring blends in nicely in the hardwoods.