Scabby Squirrel no more

Scabby Squirrel during his moult

Scabby Squirrel during his moult

 

Scabby Squirrel almost back to normal last week

Scabby Squirrel almost back to normal last week

Of the three squirrels that have been in the garden since last July or August, the most regular has been Scabby Squirrel. Scabby got his name because of a very heavy moult, which left a large chunk of his back quite bare. I had identified him as a male some time ago because of his habit of chasing another of the squirrels (I presume a female) round the tree tops. He sometimes even sat at the bottom of a tree looking up at what I assumed was a female busy at a feeder, then resumed the aerial romp when his partner was finished feeding.

Of late he has been visiting the feeders in the early morning and late afternoon. His moulted fur had all but grown back in and his ear tufts and the tip of his tail had a golden shine in the (rare) sunshine. At some of his morning feeding forays he was clearly looking for another squirrel, visiting each feeder briefly before moving on to the next. I occasionally saw two squirrels running through the tops of the larches. Whether or not one was Scabby Squirrel I don’t know, though I suspect it was.

Alas Scabby Squirrel was killed this morning on the busy A85. I suspect that all of ‘our’ squirrels had originated on the other side of the road in a part known as the Methven Den. They may well have made many sojourns across the main road to revisit the Den but, if they did, unfortunately this was his last.

There are certainly a few red squirrels in the Methven area, but they face a number of hazards: cats, buzzards and of course the road.  I suppose one consolation is that Scabby Squirrel was a male and not a lactating female, which would have been even worse.   I just now hope the remaining squirrels have a successful breeding season and continue to give us some extraordinary pleasure in the garden and in the village.

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