Mysterious squirrels

6th November, 2022

Passing through the living room I was very happy to see that Ghost was having a nut on the porch.

Most grey squirrels are very much alike but as far as we can make out Ghost is unique and we had not seen him for several days.

There he was this morning, tail blowing about in the gusty wind.

So I took another photograph to add to my somewhat over-the-top inventory of squirrel images. I won’t disclose the number.

It was my intention at some point, to dedicate a post to these cheeky creatures because in fact, when you observe them regularly as we do, you discover that they are not all alike.

Sometimes they can be distinguished by an injury.

This poor creature had a very sore face. If you’ve ever had a boil, you will appreciate the pain.

Happily, after a day or two the boil burst.

But I doubt you would want to see evidence of that.

When we put a trail-cam out, we noticed a squirrel with a strange gait, so we started watching out for it.

Sure enough, this little chap had a gimp and it was clearly not an injury, so we figured it was a neurological defect.

Maybe it suffered a head trauma?

Would an animal born with this problem survive into adulthood?

Gimpy could feed himself.

He just couldn’t run straight.

He was around for some weeks, then we saw him no more.

It’s no good telling myself not to develop feelings for wild animals. I always have and always will.

Sometimes it’s sad, but it’s less sad if the animal has a natural end.

Red-tailed hawks have to feed after all.

“Did you just take my picture?”

How do they acquire these colour schemes? And where do these squirrels disappear to?

In some of these russet-toned squirrels, the colour scheme extended onto their body, though there were interesting variations.

Some just had very red ears.

It was a little hard keeping track

Then things got really exotic.

Where does a squirrel get a tail like that?

Red nose and feet. Black and white tail.

Now who is this?

Same feet as the previous model, but different tail.

Tails come in various colour combinations

…and an assortment of shapes, it seems.

Perhaps it’s the way the individual decides to carry it.

Or flourish it, more like.

White ear bases.

…and fingers.

You look like #9…or do you…?

And who are you?

No-one can tell me squirrels aren’t pretty.

When you start looking, there are lots of differences.

Check the ears..

Check the tail…

…and the feet…

Look at this face.

Quite different to many of the others.

Full of attitude!

It was in the summer of 2020 that we first saw the exotic tails, but it was as if they had come for a fashion show and within a month, they were gone.

We never knew if it was the squirrels themselves that vanished, or if it was it some strange temporary colouring they had. It had seemed pretty permanent.

Online searches offered no clue.

Last year we waited to see if the tails would re-appear but they did not.

Then this past summer, they were back. Not the same, but exotic in their own way.

“Em, excuse me? Where are you going?”

This year, as in 2020, the tails were here and then…they weren’t.

It’s all a mystery.


While I was looking through the archive I came upon this.

Blue-jays are not known for their good manners.


“You can’t make a post about squirrels without me!”

“No indeed not, Little Red.”

7 thoughts on “Mysterious squirrels

  1. It looks as if there has been interbreeding between greys and reds. I’m not even sure if that is possible, but it certainly appears to be the case. Squirrels do not live very long in the wild. Even if they survive the birds, their lifespans are short. (This was found online.)
    ‘Females up to 5 years and males around 2-3 years. Origin & Distribution: Introduced from the USA between 1876-1929 the grey squirrel is now widespread in England and Wales, central Scotland and the eastern half of Ireland – and still spreading.’
    Best wishes, Pete.

    1. I remember the beautiful red squirrels I saw in my grandfather’s garden. They were wiped out by greys, were they not? Our reds are different to those and they often confront our grey squirrels. I can’t really see them inter-breeding which is why we are so fascinated by what we see.

  2. Just look at those proud tails – it’s all over the place! They are cute, that’s for sure … and have heaps of attitude! Ah, dear Little Red – always good to see him! Great photos!

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