A Tale Few Have Heard By Barbara Sisney Daniel

Squirrels are one of the few wild animals I love to watch. A number of them visit our backyard to dine on the sunflower seed that drops from the bird feeders.

Squirrels are entertaining and mischievous.

One morning about a month ago, I saw a small dark squirrel feeding under the bird feeder. As daylight became brighter I could see this little animal didn’t have a tail, so I thought, ‘This is not a squirrel!’ But as I kept my eyes focused on the animal, I could see it was a squirrell without a tail. Not a sign of one!

I began to wonder what could have happened to its tail. I thought maybe a sharp billed hawk had tried to catch the small squirrel. It seemed nervous and very cautious in its actions. Another squirrel with a long bushy tail came running toward the tail-less one as if to kill it. The poor thing took off running faster than a bullet flies, and I thought that I would probably not see it again, but later in the day, I saw it coming across the lawn and more sure of itself, looking much like a tiny bear.

Later during the day, I saw a second tail-less squirrel.

The squirrels with tails continually try to run the tail-less squirrels off or attack them viciously. I believe that they would kill them if they ever caught them. But in spite of not having tails, the little squirrels have developed a skill of outsmarting the aggressive ones.

After watching the squirrels for several days, I decided to phone the Conservation Office at Clinton, Missouri and ask the employees there if these little animals could have been born without tails since they didn’t have anything to show for. The lady there said she had never seen one, but went to the computer and pulled up the fact that it is a congenital defect. It is not hereditary, but exists in the black, red, and white squirrels, as well as the gray.

I am so grateful to be able to see my little friends every day. They stimulate our minds as my husband and I have our morning coffee and discuss the beauty of nature.

Our yard has several pretty flowers that my husband put out, with red birds and other varieties of birds coming to the feeders. The doves feed with the tail-less baby squirrels and I have seen the doves run the long-tailed squirrel away as if they were guarding the tail-less ones. I also noticed that the little squirrels are not afraid when the doves are present.

All of what we watch from our kitchen window each morning reminds me of the garden of Eden where God placed all he created and said it was good. He also said in Isaiah 11:6-9 that there will be peace with every living thing. What a beautiful picture of a peacable kingdom where nothing will be destroyed, and peace reigns.