I have a favorite little squirrel. It’s rather ugly. This winter it looked so scrawny and its fur so patchy that I thought it was diseased. There’s a big, bald knob on its spine.
It fattened up over the winter – a rare occurrence when most animals are living on their reserves.
Eventually it lingered on the maple tree long enough for me to get a good look. A parchment-colored scar runs along its neck. The fur along its back is thin where other scars run like seams on a badly-patched stuffed animal.
I think it’s the young squirrel that a neighborhood cat attacked and carried off. The cat must have kept it alive to play with it.
It’s still more skittish than other squirrels, but occasionally it feels safe enough to hang by its back feet from the feeder. Or explore the deck, as in the hastily-snapped photo below.