Squirrels with no fur on their tails: No fur upon thurs

Earlier this spring as I stood at my sink washing dishes, I saw something that made me stop in the middle of a sudsy scrub of a potato pot: a creature in my back yard that looked suspiciously like a rat. Yikes.

After I watched it for a while wondering how much rat traps cost, I realized it looked like a rat but didn’t behave like a rat. It behaved exactly like the other squirrels frolicking around my yard.

It was a squirrel with no fur on its tail.

The next day a second squirrel with no fur on its tail appeared in my yard; this one was grey. What was going on? How could there be two squirrels of different colours with furless tails?

I still haven’t learned the answer to that question. What makes my heart glad, though, is that all the squirrels in my backyard, furred or furless, romp and play together happily. Even though two squirrels are visibly different from the others—I could even say physically handicapped—the other squirrels treat them no differently.

It reminded our family of  “The Sneetches” by Dr. Seuss.

In this fabulous story, some Sneetches have stars on their bellies, but Plain-Belly Sneetches had “no stars upon thars.” In the beginning, the Star-Belly Sneetches won’t associate with their plainer counterparts. By the end of the story, after Sylvester McMonkey McBean sends them all on several trips through his Star-on or Star-off machine (only ten dollars each) the Sneetches no longer know “Whether this one was that one . . . or that one was this one / Or which one was what one . . . or what one was who.”

In other words, the Sneetches discovered that it’s what’s inside that counts, something my backyard squirrels seem to know instinctively. The play together whether or not there is “fur upon thurs.”

Would that it could be so with humanity.

10 thoughts on “Squirrels with no fur on their tails: No fur upon thurs

  1. peakperspective

    Just came across this post of yours and thought I’d relay a story from our neighborhood. An elderly woman on our road was renown for feeding the many fox that typically live in our woods. At a potluck dinner one day, she announced that she was seeing a couple of fox with no fur on their tail and had decided to “treat” their disease with penicillin. A physician, overhearing, told the elderly woman that she was sadly, poisoning them, as they were totally fine, but that occasionally this was how they lined their nests. Some would pull all the hair off their tails to make their babies more comfortable.
    Maybe the same with the squirrels?

    1. Arlene Somerton Smith Post author

      Oh, that’s so interesting! I never thought of that. I hope it is the case. This year every squirrel I see has a full, bushy tail, so maybe nature is provide more comfy nesting material this year.

  2. Jean-Yves

    I have seen twice this kind of «squirrel». They really look like rats. They climb trees but their body is built like rats. I wonder…

  3. The squirrel master

    It’s most likely either mange or a fungal disease they are rodents that like to hang out garbage cans we can’t forget that and they’re not herbivorous eat

    1. Arlene Somerton Smith Post author

      Yes, I learned after I wrote this that it is likely mange. That happened one summer a few years ago, and I haven’t seen another since. Thank you so much for commenting. It’s always good to hear from a master!

  4. Pat Campbell Robair

    We have one in our backyard…….long skinny tail. He is usually by himself even though there are dozens of squirrels around. He looks healthy otherwise.


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