Last September we discovered that we have this white squirrel living in our yard. He’s beautiful, as you can see. He’s not particularly goofy as a lot of squirrels are, and instead has a very businesslike attitude I don’t ordinarily associate with squirrels.  I suppose he doesn’t have the luxury of goofiness, given that his entire body is an advertisement for predators. Even though he doesn’t appear to be a true albino (he has dark eyes and a brownish tail), we still named him Al anyway, because he had to be called something.

Al comes and goes, and we often don’t see him for days at a time. I read somewhere that squirrels have a 200 yard range from their home nest, which appears to be in a tree in the southwest quadrant of our yard. This seems like a small area, but it’s enough for us not to see him for stretches of time. Usually, though, one of us will wake up one morning, look out the bathroom window and call out “Hey, Al!”

This time though, Al’s been gone awhile. And it feels different. The other day I saw a dismembered squirrel tail on the road. Because his tail is the only part of him that looks like an ordinary squirrel, I couldn’t tell whether it belonged to Al. I’ve lived in dread of seeing a small white body on or near the road, but didn’t expect to have only a tail.

We have always steeled ourselves for Al’s demise, though, because squirrels’ lives under the best of circumstances aren’t exactly durable. When an opossum died in our yard the day before Christmas and a hawk spent a week perched on Al’s tree, periodically dining on the carcass, we thought for sure he was a goner. But the hawk was apparently well enough fed, and ignored all the squirrels in the yard.

So we keep looking for Al out the window, and hoping to see him. This is the downside of getting attached to wildlife. But I’ll probably keep doing it anyway.

And hope I hear someone say “Hey, Al!” soon.



4 thoughts on “Waiting for Al: The hazards of getting attached to (particular) wildlife

  1. I have grown attatched to a pair of barred owls down the street from me. I see them every single day and almost always spend all day with them. I have known them for quite a while now, and have gotten to know them on a level where I feel like they are my children. Very VERY occasionally, I won’t be able to find them, and I get separation anxiety. This is obviously my fault, because getting attatched to wild animals is just a dumb thing to do; and I knew that in the first place but I got attatched anyways. But it really is a stupid thing to do, especially with wild birds, who could fly to a new patch of forest at any given time.

    1. Whoa! I don’t think it’s a dumb thing to do, I think it’s impossible NOT to do. At least for some of us. But yeah, it’s risky getting attached to wildlife. But barred owls….the very same thing would happen to me. It’s worth it though.

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