Remember a couple of posts ago when I posted photos my friend Elaine took of an odd-looking squirrel? We had some speculation on what might be going on, including some info from blogger Squirrelmama, who said the unusual coat was probably due to molting. Well, that seemed like a reasonable explanation to me, but… here is a new photo of the same squirrel (whom I think we may now safely refer to as ‘she’) taken approximately two weeks after the first ones. While the mystery of her gender has been solved, we I’m wondering if we can say the same about her strange coat, at least not the complete mystery.
My next step was to print out Elaine’s photos and take them to the Point Pelee Nature Center to see if anyone had seen something like this in the area before (they hadn't). The Ranger was very knowledgeable, and she, too, thought it was probably a molt. She also said squirrels usually molt over the period of about one month. Well, in that case, our squirrel should be moving right along but she's still wearing those wooly chaps, and doesn’t look like she’s shed a single hair more! Anyway, Elaine’s going to keep an eye out for her, and I’ll post any further developments. Even considering this is a a molt, you have to admit, you don’t see one like it everyday in the park—I still think genetics must be having a bit of fun at her expense as well. (normal gray squirrel molt photo for comparison)
On a related note, the news wires were abuzz this week with the report that the missing archaeological link between humans and apes has at long last been found. Or, as one article put it, it’s more accurate to call it a missing link than the missing link. We likely won’t find that neat a single-line progression of descent, but still, it’s a hugely important find, and more than enough reason to stand Charles Darwin a posthumous drink. The new fossil, named Ida, is stunningly well preserved, right down to her last meal of a fruit cup and side salad. She’s described as being capable of walking upright, having opposable thumbs, and otherwise being rather cat-like. That is my worst nightmare, you know—cats with opposable thumbs. I rarely get a moment’s peace around here as it is. But let’s get back to our little squirrel. I’m envisioning a time in the unimaginably distant future, when scientists (all in silver lamé jumpsuits no doubt) are excavating the fossil remains of Elaine’s backyard, and discover well-preserved fossil bones (you can even see the imprint of two kinds of fur!!) that will rewrite everything they thought they knew about molting squirrels.
Photos, top to bottom: 1-The newest shot of the Frankensquirrel (thanks again, Elaine!) 2-A gray squirrel in molt from Google images, for comparison 3-Newly discovered Ida 4-The famous Lucy 5-Sweeney, contemplating a life where she can work the can opener herself...
Happy Memorial Day long weekend to those in the US. I'm taking a bit of a break here myself, and won't post anything new here till Monday. Ciao!
The Cloud Messenger (Meghadūta) is a lyric poem by the respected Indian poet, Kālidāsa. The poem centers around a yaksa in exile. Longing for his beloved, waiting for him on a Himalayan mountain, he asks a cloud to take a message to her. The sights he tells the cloud it will see on its way make up most of the poem.
The idea of recording observations appeals to me. I thought The Cloud Messenger was the perfect title for a blog about the journey that we all make as we move through our days.
I'm a baby boomer who grew up dancing in the streets of Detroit during the classic Motown years, lived beside the Rocky Mountains for many years, now retired and living (and writing full time) in S. Ontario. I have one blog for rock 'n' roll oldies, and one for nature, poetry and life along the Lake.