Bizarre patchwork squirrel sighted in Greene County, IN

Whoa. What is this? That is the question asked by the Greene County Daily World on their website. A ‘story’ on the matter is titled “A squirrel?”.

Yes, it does appear to be a squirrel, but he’s a little more special than your usual southern Indiana specimen. Check him out:

Patchwork squirrel

Look at this weird squirrel

What do we know so far about the animal? The GC Daily World text is as follows:

“Pauline Dudley of Newberry took this picture of a different-looking squirrel that she saw in her backyard.”

OK, so that’s a start. Newberry. Pauline Dudley. Backyard. But I think we need to know more. For example:

– Is this picture ‘shopped?

– If not, is this a previously-documented squirrel pattern?

– If this variation has a precedent, what makes a squirrel turn out that way?

I’ll get on this and update if I figure anything out.

UPDATE: The Indiana Division of Fish and Wildlife says:

“This squirrel, most likely a fox squirrel, is not albinistic from what I can tell.  Albinism is defined as an inability to produce melanin.  So something cannot be ‘part albino’.   This squirrel is what we refer to as partially leucitic [sic – leucistic], sometimes called piebald.  This is cause by a defect in the pigment cell in development.  It is a cool pic.”

Let us cast our minds back to the advent of this blog post. Me: “Could that squirrel be called piebald?” Male companion: “No.”

Needless to say, it is clear which of us had the last laugh.

(Note: I never said the squirrel was part albino and I hope you know me better than that, but a commenter on the Greene County Daily World story did.)

Photo from the Greene County Daily World