Posted by: ktzefr | March 11, 2016

Bunz: Squirrel With No Tail


Bunz, the tailless squirrel; Photo:KFawcett

Bunz, the tailless squirrel; Photo:KFawcett

He made it through the winter!   The first time I saw him I figured he wouldn’t make it at all. I don’t know if he’s a genetic anomaly or if some critter caught his tail and wouldn’t let go.  I can’t get too up close and personal with the little guy, but from a variety of angles it’s obvious that there isn’t even a stub or a puff of a tail.  Just buns.  Or Bunz, as we call him.

I watch squirrels perform all sorts of acrobatic feats in the trees in my yard.  Those bushy tails are not just for looks.  A tail is to a squirrel as a pole is to a tightrope walker; it helps the critter stay balanced as it leaps from tree to tree or shimmies onto a narrow branch or electric wire or a slippery gutter running along the rooftop.  A squirrel’s tail is also used to communicate with other squirrels.  A flicking tail means the animal is alarmed.  A tail that suddenly fluffs up means it’s feeling aggressive.  A tail has other practical purposes, too.  It can serve as a blanket in the winter.  The bushiest tails make cozy wraps.  In summer they can be hoisted overhead like an umbrella to provide a built-in shady spot for a critter in the sun.

So…I wondered, knowing the community of squirrels as I do and being on a first-name basis with the ones on my street, this: how will the poor little guy possibly survive the winter?  Would the others accept him?  Would anybody want to live with him (they do like to share nests in winter)?  Would the others reject him outright?  Take his food?  Steal his nest?  Bully him?

I don’t have a clue what happened in the nests or trees or otherwise out of my sight over the winter, but I gave him peanuts when he came to the door — and there was no schedule to this, no rhyme nor reason to the timing of his visits.  Yesterday, he came up on the deck when I was working on the laptop and I brought out a few pecans (special treat) and he found a shady spot, ate the nuts, and stretched out to sleep.

Guess a tail is not all it’s cracked up to be.  Maybe he doesn’t need one.


Squirrel Wisdom

No one except the squirrels is out and about at daybreak,

as they scurry up and down the trees, leaping

from the maple to the dogwood to the beech,

grasping onto branches that bend and sway

but do not break.

Squirrels, sharing their squirrel wisdom.

Isn’t that what it’s all about?

Aren’t we always trying to find a branch to grasp —

  One branch that will bend and sway

but will not break.




  1. Ok. We’ll need more on Bunz 🙂

  2. Interesting and touching!!

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