Stubby

Three young Red Squirrels visit the bird feeders throughout the day, feasting on a mix of cracked corn and sunflower seeds. Two are typical of the species, having prominent bushy tails, big feet and great agility.

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However, the third sibling is unlike any Red Squirrel that I have ever seen and has become the center of attention, with rock star status in the arena of backyard wildlife activity. Meet Stubby, a Red Squirrel without a tail … or left hind foot.

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I surmise that this young Red Squirrel was attacked from the rear by a predator, quite possibly a free ranging domestic cat. It managed to escape, the bushy tail providing a life-saving buffer and a mouthful of hair for the predator.

RedSquirrelStub11Nov15#001E2c5x7

When discovered several weeks ago, Stubby appeared to be free of infection or discomfort. At first falling, stumbling and listing sideways when moving and feeding, the squirrel’s balance and motor skills improved rapidly. Soon it was posturing for feeding rights and could run, albeit awkwardly, to the nearest spruce tree for cover.

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Like other Red Squirrels, Stubby is again feisty and domineering, his disabilities offset by a heavy dose of attitude.

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Perhaps as a show of grit, strength and invincibility to intimidate his siblings, Stubby ran several feet with a large apple before stopping to munch on it (fast enough to blur my photo). Under the circumstances, this was a Herculean feat. Even when running for cover in the absence of a load, Stubby tumbles along like a furry ball rolling erratically across the the lawn.

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The adaptability and recuperative powers of wild animals are miraculous. This case study is still unfolding: there is much more to be learned about Stubby the Red Squirrel!

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Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

 

 

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18 thoughts on “Stubby

    • Thanks Shawn. I agree, never a dull moment when in the company of red squirrels – seen or unseen! The other day I was in a tree stand in an old apple orchard watching a big gray squirrel sneak in, steal an apple, then get chased through the tree tops by a red squirrel less than half its size. The aerial show was both entertaining and impressive!

  1. You really captured little Stubby both in picture and in word. I remember when I first saw him feeding and falling off the feeding stump….Now Stubby is an accomplished little furry creature…And I really like the photo with the apple…that was quite a feat!!!!

    • Thanks westerner. Yes, my fingers are crossed too. The spruce tree retreat cover is 20-30 feet from the feeder – quite a journey for Stubby – and I’m a little worried about that exposure time.

    • Thanks guys. It warms my heart to know that we’re still connected after all of these years. So many fond memories of shared experiences during my “formative” years! I must get busy with some quality posts so as not to disappoint!!! Blessings.

  2. You knew I would love these photos, Nick! We don’t have red squirrels here – only Fox Squirrels and Gray Squirrels… and in Eastern Oklahoma there are flying squirrels. This was a most excellent series… and Stubby sure seems to be a character!!

    • Thanks for the nice thoughts littlesundog. Glad you liked it! Didn’t realize that red squirrels were absent from your area. I recently saw a “Black phase” gray squirrel on the outskirts of Syracuse that I plan to pursue. Beautiful animal and unusual for this area. Fox squirrels are impressive and I miss them – haven’t seen one since moving from PA to Central NYS many years ago. Flying squirrels are a riot! Hope to have a follow up post.

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