My response: “Yay. They’re still rats.”
Okay, I should be more excited to have something that’s considered “damned” living a few feet from my house—when I first moved to Shelton, I remember the first time I saw one of these so-called “ghost squirrels” run across the street, I almost drove off the road. But now, after these critters spend the day tearing up my lawn, chewing on my kids’ toys (wiffle balls, in particular, seem to be a favorite) and leaving a plethora of picked-clean pine cones in their wake, it’s hard to appreciate them for the “special” vermin they are.
Well, from what I can tell, they’re not so special. They’re a variation of the common Eastern gray squirrel, with populations in Missouri, Kentucky, Ohio, upstate New York and even in North Carolina, where in the town of Brevard, they have have an annual white squirrel festival.
I’m not buying a ticket any time soon . . .
These creatures have been spotted in various sections of Shelton, and more recently, have spread (not unlike a plague) into Stratford. As you might expect (hope), they don’t have overly large populations because their bright fur makes them an easy target for hawks and other raptors.
A quick note: The squirrels spotted in my backyard and in other places in Shelton are not albino—it’s hard to tell from these pictures, but they have black eyes, not the red eyes characteristic of albinism.
Our Damned Experience: These photos were taken in my backyard and I can pretty much go outside on any given day and snap pictures of these annoying buggers. This particular squirrel I photographed is about a year or two old, and lives with a pack of gray ones high up in a pine tree. Over the past ten years that I’ve lived here, there always seems to be one or two white ones around, mixed in and living in racial harmony with their gray brethren.
If You Go: You’re not coming to my house, damned or not!
However, I can’t stop you from cruising the Coram Road section of Shelton and taking a few of specimens home with you (please please please!), or even better, if one crosses the road in front of you, preparing it for early taxidermy with your car.