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« Romancing the stone | Main | Our VRWC tinfoil hat is abristle »

August 09, 2004


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We live in Upstate New York. We've spotted and photographed the first ring-tailed gray squirrel we've ever seen.

We have nowhere to post this photo. Perhaps we are excited about nothing: our neighborhood is full of strange tail mutations. But we've never seen a ring-tail. Is this normal elsewhere?

Couldn't find any pix of ring-tailed squirrels out there in Googleland -- feel free to send me a copy of your photo if you like -- meantime, I suggest you call your local Audubon Society to report your sighting.

White squirrels are common here (Hendersonville NC) and nearby Brevard NC. They co-exist with grays easily, chasing one another and nesting in nearby trees. We have noticed them for several years, and their only neighborhood predator, a labrador, no longer lives here, to their relief.

We see them daily. If I recall, these were "introduced" from Asia (Japan?) many years ago, and have survived quite well.

I recall, too, the true albino opossums which inhabited the Overton Park neighborhood in Memphis when we lived there some 35 years ago.

P.S. - I am a retired Ph.D geneticist with non-pink eyes.

Hi, Don. Thanks for the report re your local population of pale wildlife. I've done a little Googling and added an update to this post that will interest you.

Glad you liked the info. It's very easy to spot them on campus, and it is so neat to see one up close, but not TOO close.

The little buggers and I got real up close and personal when one of them almost jumped on my head while I was passing underneath it.

They don't have many predators, but it doesn't say anything about them being the actual predators on unsuspecting college kids.

Enjoyed it and all the squirrel info. If my cats could read, they'd be in fits right now.

I have a family of these near my house in Richmond, VA! My jaw dropped the first time I saw them.

Back at college I'd regularly see squirrels carrying around Chik Fil A waffle fries.

I live in downtown Toronto Ontario and just two days ago saw a black and white squirrel on my street. This squirrel had white front paws, and was white under the chin, on the underside of it's body, on it's hind legs, and at the tip of it's tail. It also had white whiskers, and it's fur was kind of wiry and fluffy looking. I was completely amazed, because I've only ever seen black or grey type squirrels around here, and we have a lot of them on our street. The rest of the squirrel was black. I saw this squirrel really close up, so I have no doubts about the fact that it was a squirrel. Has anyone else seen anything like this?

Hey, Luanne. You gotta get a digital camera so you can give us a shot of this little critter. If you do get one, send it to me, and I will do a post. :)

We have lots of grey and black squirrels here in Palo Alto, CA but today when I looked out there were two grey squirrels with ringed tails - never saw anything like this before. Tails were long and skinny and not held up like by a normal squirrel. So I looked up this site and am glad to know that there is such a creature. Has anyone seen them anywhere else in California? Or did they hitch a ride from the East?

Hi, Angela --

Send pictures if you can, and I'll do another post or update this one. Your comment gave me a chance to go back and reread this post. Not bad. White and ring-tailed gray squirrels are one thing, but a whole secret community of ring-tailed gray squirrel WATCHERS? Only in the blogosphere.

Could the critter you saw be a "Ringtail" (Bassariscus astutus)? It is about the size of a gray squirrel, but is not a squirrel at all. Take a peek at a field guide of north american mammals. Perhaps this is what you saw.

Hi, Sue --

Ringtails are wicked cute but don't look anything like gray squirrels:


The only suirrels I knew of in Louisiana were the grey ones with a small amount of white or silver on the tips of their tail fur. But a few days ago I saw one in my front yard with black rings around its tail. Then I saw another in the back yard. I was intrigued so I looked up this site. I haven't been able to find anything else about them on the web.

Hello, I live near Sacramento California. I googled info on ringtail squirrels because I noticed one at my squirrel feeder a few days ago, something I've never seen before. The other squirrels that come to the feeder are western gray squirrels. If you look close at their tails you will see some very slightly darker silver banding in their silver tails, so I suspect the ringtail is simply a mutation of dark gray or black instead of silver tail banding.

Further to Luane's note about a black and white squirrel: I live in Ottawa, Canada and while visiting my aunt in a nearby town was amazed to see a squirrel in her back yard which had a black body, white ears, white nose and a pure white tail. She says she sees it there regularly - I plan to go back with my camera. What do you suppose caused this? I wondered if it was the result of a squirrel mating with a skunk?

Ring tailed squirrel in my yard in southern N.J. Never saw one before. There are black squirrels in Princeton about 40 miles north. posted 8/1/07

I took a picture of a ring-tailed squirrel that I saw at my feeder. It was with other gray squirrels. I have never seen one and wondered what it was. This is near St. Louis.

To Pat & Randy in upstate NY. This ring tailed squirrel thing seems to be the talk of upstate with some of the fellow nuts in the office. My mother happened to note a ring tailed squirrel and not a week later I saw one near my workplace. Later that week after telling a co-worker he was watching a NY Yankee game when all cameras were on a ring tailed squirrel on light pole in the stadium. Is this a new thing ??? Any answers ?

As I am reading on I see more of you have noted this new phenom. I have never seen the ring tailed squirrel before I Live 3-4 Hours north west of NYC ??? Binghamton, NY I wish someone could tell us why this is happening.

Just a quick note to Angela the squirrel that I noticed had a full bushy tail with white rings. The one that my mother saw had a thin tail with white rings. I really have never heard of this before. I am living in upstate NY

The ringed tail must be recessive, because we only have one. He or she comes around along with the rest of the regulars.

We had hoped there would be more, but if there are, they don't congregate much.



We just spotted a ring tailed squirrel out in our yard in Clearwater MN, about 50 miles north of Minneapolis. In doing a little research, it looks like they belong in northwestern Mexico! Hope it will survive our winter.

Just saw what I can only describe as a ring-tail squirrel in Vancouver, WA (just north of Portland, OR) in a wooded area. Definately a squirrel.

I would like to learn more about "ringtail" squirrels. Does anyone know anything about them? We have one here in our yard in SC. Deana

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