Last Friday, while heading home from work I noticed a little black squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) trying really hard to avoid attention among the shrubs but failing. The squirrel had in its paws a delicious-looking chocolate-chip cookie and was frantically seeking a quiet place to consume this treat. Two other squirrels were circling, looking for an opportunity to grab a bite, so the squirrel finally ran up its tree – close to where I was waiting with my camera. It wasn’t too happy to see me either, but I managed to grab a couple of photographs before it scooted up to its its hiding place in a hollow in the trunk. This image shows the squirrel grasping the cookie in its mouth, which was larger than its own head! It kept a close eye on me and I suspect it was probably assessing just how likely I was to steal its delicacy… but I was more interested in capturing its image.
Natural history note: This is the black form of the Eastern Grey Squirrel. Three colour variations have been observed among the Eastern Grey squirrel population on the Queen’s University campus: the standard Eastern Grey colour, which is a speckled grey/brown coat with creamy underside fur, the all-black melanistic form common throughout Eastern Ontario and the less common all-blonde variation (not albino) with dark brown eyes. It is my goal to photograph up close the blonde squirrels which occasionally appear on the campus. However, they are very elusive and do not appear every year. Maybe this summer, I will get lucky?