Monday 17 March 2008

Albino Squirrel of Trinity-Bellwoods

The last few years a tiny surprise has hopped and bobbed its jaunty tail through Trinity-Bellwoods Park here in Toronto's downtown. My wife saw this resident for the first time last week, and this morning I was lucky enough to snap a couple of photos.
Trinity-Bellwoods is not the largest or most wooded park in Toronto, but I pass through it to and from work every day. The little albino squirrel, going about its squirrely business with its grey and black squirrelerific friends, is something of a local celebrity. Nearby boutiques on the hipster-filled Queen St. West scene will occasionally have messages in their window, or on their sidewalk signs. One store even had a plush one in the window.
This second pic is horribly blurry. I'd like to blame that on my kindness in not pursuing the squirrel too closely, as I'm sure it is followed by paparazzi hoping to catch a glimpse of a wardrobe malfunction more often than the other squirrels. But I think the picture may be blurry due to the icy ground, and the amount of coffee I had this morning. Blurred like this though, doesn't it look a bit like it's going to pelt an acorn at my head? It's eyeing me, like I'm just another shutterbug.

I love this park. Lots of "refuge-points" in the landscape, trees dotted here and there, trees that rustle in the breeze. Walking through there is one of the best parts of my day.

(For more great posts on albinism in animals, check out Zooillogix.)

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traumador said...

Wow the rare Albinon Squirrel of Trinity... Legends have hinted at its existence for centuries, but nothing real prepares you for even just the photos... Better be sure the Nazis don't get their hands on it ;p

Glendon Mellow said...

I'm hoping no one gets their hands on it, Traumador! I love the wild critters in Toronto.

I was out for a run a few weeks ago, and ran around a snowbank right a large possum. It didn't play dead, just opened its mouth and looked at me. That was a first.

We see foxes, rabbits, hawks and plenty of raccoons and skunks, but otherwise Toronto's ecosystem is mostly filled with hipsters, b-boys, neo-goths and gapsnappers.

S. Brown said...

We have albino squirrels at The University of Texas at Austin, and the students have all sorts of superstitions about them -- but they are contradictory superstitions -- "If you see one on the way to an exam, you will pass" and "If you see one on the way to an exam -- FAIL!"

Nice pics, especially the non-blurry one.

Glendon Mellow said...

Thank you, Susan! Although I do pride myself on the blurry photos, it's nice to hear something good about the in focus ones as well.


I suppose with the ubiquity of squirrels in urban environments, the chances of seeing an albino is greater than say, a raccoon.

It's still pretty neat. I hope the one I took the picture of is good luck.

Hey - a quarter! Thank you albino squirrel!

Heather Ward said...

We had two albino squirrels at RPI. The first one has been named "Alby" and is the unofficial mascot. Here are some Alby photos. It seems at least one is still around.

juicepig said...

I spotted him too last week. Here are two photos I took:

Glendon Mellow said...

Great pictures, Juicepig!

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