Thomas chases squirrels. It’s what he does; it’s his work. They seem to have a benign enough relationship. Thomas chases them, they run away, and each party knows the dog will never catch the squirrel. Admittedly, the squirrels are sometimes rude, like when they perch in the highest reaches of the tree beyond the deck and chitter at him tauntingly. Ha ha, stupid, they say. Got away again, didn’t we?

A few weeks ago I was puttering around the house when I heard the Squirrel Whine, the high-pitched noise Thomas emits when there is a rude squirrel nearby. The Squirrel Whine was followed by the sound of his nails scraping the deck boards and proceeding down the stairs with the kind of clumsy haphazardness he displays when he is after something. I went outside to watch the action, and I saw a white blur bouncing across the yard at a high rate of speed. That wasn’t what I expected; I expected a brown blur bouncing across the yard at a high rate of speed. I grabbed the camera, but it was gone before I could get back down the stairs with it. I was intrigued. That was a white squirrel. But I forgot about it, because, as most of you know, life is full of interesting bits of information, and those eventually crowded out the novelty of a possibly albino squirrel.

Until this morning. On the other side of the house, my bathroom window looks out at the larger patch of land, and an overgrown area across a drainage creek that I deliberately don’t mow because if I don’t, it produces prairie flowers amid the trees. I always stop to look out the window when I’m about to get in the shower, because it’s pretty out there, and sometimes there are deer, or opossums gathering nesting materials, or once, a pair of large Cooper’s Hawks. And this morning, a large white squirrel lying indolently on a branch. I left the bathroom hastily, shoved my feet into a pair of beaten up generic Crocs, grabbed the camera and headed out. This guy is much more skittish than his brown companions, and he did a creditable disappearing act. He vanished around the other side of the tree trunk, which was covered in green ivy, and was gone. But not before I shot off two frames. They’re not great, but they show the basics of his coloring.

  • Note that part of its tail is brown.

I need to get a better shot, so I can see the color of its eyes.  Not all white squirrels are albinos. My research says that true albino squirrels will have pink or light blue eyes. The eyes look darker in these photos, but it could just be the way the light was hitting them.

This will be my mission for the foreseeable future. I’ll report back.

Isn’t it gorgeous?

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5 thoughts on “Natural history of an Indiana autumn: The albino squirrel (or not)

  1. Okay, I’m not proud of this, but we watch Billy The Exterminator. Regularly. Okay, religiously. And he caught a baby albino raccoon on an episode last season. And it was the ugliest thing this side of a dead possum. That squirrel though? It looks like a siamese kitten. Very cute!

  2. It’s cute! I spotted a white/brown fawn one morning in the dentist’s parking lot. (woods are nearby) At first glance I thought it was a tall dog, but as it skittered away I saw it was a fawn. What a surprise!

  3. It hurts my heart to know that, of all the anonymous Billy-the-Exterminator fans in the world, you would have pegged that confession as being from me.

    That was one ugly varmit though. Or was it a critter? Billy taught us the difference once, but I just can’t remember…

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