Saturday, April 3, 2010

Poor Little Bald Squirrel

I found another poor little bald squirrel yesterday. This would now be the second one in the same area of the forest. I found the first one in December. You can read about that first one here: Baldilocks

I couldn't quite tell what I was seeing when I took the photos, because the camera sees a lot better than I do. I knew there was something wrong with this squirrel though. I couldn't see it well, but what I saw looked messed up. I found out what I was seeing when I got home and saw the pictures.

This squirrel is missing an awful lot of hair. When I first saw the pictures I thought maybe it was the same squirrel I had seen before, because they were in the same area of the forest. But the pattern of the baldness seems different. I don't think it's the same one.

Obviously it isn't an injury, like I thought when I saw the first one. I would guess these two squirrels have had contact with each other for this to happen. The only thing I know that might be able to do this to these poor squirrels is mange. This means this squirrel probably doesn't have much time left.

The first picture really makes him look messed up, but he was actually moving around pretty well. He scurried up that tree just as well as any other squirrel. I can't say how he really feels. It may be that it's not as bad as it seems. Hopefully he'll get better with the warm weather that we have now.

I don't mean to write such a sad post for you, but this is just as much a part of nature as any other. Sometimes bad things happen. This squirrel didn't seem as angry at me as the original one did, but it didn't like my presence. I think I was too far away for it to get to angry. I can understand the poor thing being angry.

You know, I started out writing joking posts about fake wars I was having with the squirrels. Those were really fun at the time. I then wrote of a truce between the squirrels and me. After that I have come to enjoy seeing squirrels whenever I'm in the forest. I even think of them as my little friends, so whenever I see something like this it makes me sad.

But there's nothing I can do about it. It's all a part of nature, and it's not up to me to interfere. If it becomes an epidemic, the government might step in. But until then it's up to the squirrels to deal with it. It doesn't seem fair for any living thing to have to suffer.

I'll have something much happier tomorrow.


  1. The little fellow does look pretty ragged but he might be doing just fine. Something I read recently said that fox squirrels molt twice a year. In the Spring molt they will lose their fur starting at the head and going to the tail. The fall molt is the reverse. It could be mange but this is also the right time of the year for a spring molt.

    Let's hope this is a natural cycle and not something serious.

  2. I have seen lots of squirrel without their fur on part of their bodies around here, and they all seem to be fine. What Judy said above seemed to make sense..

  3. Good news Ratty! What you are observing on this squirrel is notoedric mange a fairly common mange that is particular to squirrels. Unlike the sacoptric mange found on canines it is seldom fatal. The only time squirrel mange is fatal is when it occurs during a cold winter and the small mammal is over exposed to the elements. Given this is spring, this little fellow will be fine. Before next winter comes his efficient body will develop an immune response and the hair will grow back.

    So he make look a little scruffy around the edges, odds are he will revert back to a normal, healthy coat by winter!

    Glad my ecologist background could relieve you of some worry today!

  4. That poor little squirrel. I see though that Bill has the answer to his baldness and at least it's good news.

  5. I knew a squirrel was running very fast nearby me this morning. My sixth sense told me. It is always too fast to be seen clearly.

    I can't tell whether the squirrels over here do have the same problem or not.

  6. That is good news Bill. I was going to be sad.

  7. Very good picture to show what was happening.

  8. it's indeed sad to see some animals in this state, thankfully, did not know like seals they molt too and change skin, that's some good news that what we sometimes see is not really sad but a happy one.

  9. Thank you all for your concern for this squirrel, and thanks for all of your comments and answers.

    Thanks for that wonderful information. I checked far enough to find out that it was most likely mange, but that's where I stopped. I'm glad you know more about it. It's a relief to know that the squirrel will probably get better.

  10. I'm glad Bill stopped by with some good news and information. I thought the squirrel looked pretty bad too. But at least it is most likely something that will get better!

  11. I'm so glad there are Bloggers here that know about these things. I'm sure you are feeling better about them now Ratty. I know I am.