Readers’ wildlife photos

As I said before, my store of readers’ wildlife photos is in Chicago and, at any rate, I have little time to prepare them properly here. Fortunately, reader Chris Branch sent two photos of an oddly-colored squirrel, and I’m leaving them to readers to figure out what genetic or developmental anomaly is responsible for this pattern. Chris’s notes are indented.

Not great quality pics, but here’s an interestingly colored squirrel who’s been hanging out behind our house in the Rochester NY area.  We have lots of gray ones and an occasional black, but this is the only one I’ve seen like this.


  1. Richard Bond
    Posted December 23, 2017 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    It looks like a grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) in which the normal grey fur is mostly white. One of the grey squirrels in my garden has “red” fur in the same pattern.

  2. Blue
    Posted December 23, 2017 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    leucistic … … as of thus, not ?

    One such lives (has her nest)
    within my front yard’s tree.
    I worry for her in re … … traffic.


    • Blue
      Posted December 23, 2017 at 8:52 am | Permalink

      Folks o’th’ ‘hood ‘ve named her: Blizzard.

      If Mr Branch’s ( an apropos nomenclature for
      a squirrel’s residence ! ) is, indeed, one of
      leucism, then other species are of such
      integumental patterns as well:


  3. Christopher
    Posted December 23, 2017 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Would this still be considered pied or piebald? I don’t know much of the genetics of the pattern but I assume it is recessive. In the Raytown, Mo neighborhood where my great grandmother lived there was a population of gray squirrels which frequently produced piebald animals, or “white squirrels”, as the family called them. I didn’t actually see one until I was 38, so although it must increase their chances for being eaten by the local raptors or other predators, that local population has continued to produce piebald squirrels for at least the last 35 years. Some years, however, seem to produce only offspring with noticeably lightened coats (showing off their orange-ish colors more fully), not fully piebald, but very distinctive from the general grays, which is why I assume it is recessive and that the fully piebald “whites” are not a regular occurrence, requiring a mating between two carriers of the gene.

    Just last week, at 31st and Paseo in Kansas City I spotted a piebald robin (T. migratorius) whose usual brick-red breast was completely white. Quiet a stunning bird it was, too, however I failed to get a photo before it was off with the flock.

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