I live in an old neighborhood. The newest house was built in the 1950’s. The rest of the homes on my block are pre-depression era homes. During that time many trees were planted. Very popular trees to plant were black walnut trees. So were cedar hedges.
Now these trees are very mature. They are tall and majestic. So are the cedar hedges that used to line my house. They are now taller than my 2 story home. And this is where the squirrels live.
Tons of them! We have red squirrels that are mean and vocal. The large black squirrels that seem to dominate the gene pool and have eyes that blend into their fur color. The last variety is the common grey squirrels. They have pretty markings around the large black eyes.
These squirrels are fast. The race through the trees, jumping from branch to branch. The defy gravity by these high treetop feats. The branches bend and sway. The branches seem way too small to hold their weight.
They run across the utility wires without hesitation or losing a step. These creatures chase each other nonstop, looking for those dreaded black walnuts. They chase each other away from their territory. The chase each other just to chase, I have decided.
I watch the squirrels when I am outside gardening. I usually find those nuts in my flower bed. I hear them crashing through the trees. I see the high wire act as I drive to and from my house because the utility wires are prominent there.
It was in my drive I noticed this most unusual squirrel. I couldn’t help but notice his unusual fur color. His arms were black. The fur was long and thick. His tail was black and bushy. His head was flecked with grey hairs and his eyes were difficult to see due to the dark fur that surrounded them.
But his body was a light color. I watched this genetic mystery for several days. I had formulated a hypothesis that the squirrels were interbreeding with each other and he was the result. I thought this may be a scientific interest, because I thought it was.
On my way to work, I saw that mutant again. I was concerned that he may be so different from the others that he would be picked on. He was fast, agile and big. He was also very cute. His body hair was getting very light and he looked like he had a tuxedo with a white vest on.
Why is his hair so unique I thought? I took a closer look as he ran across the high wire. I saw that the body hair was short. In fact, he was going bald on his torso. The cute little vest was really baldness!
Or disease, probably mange! So much for my fascinating observation of scientific proportions