Rogue Rodent: ‘Ready for My Close-Up’


When Melissa Brandts positioned her camera for a timed self-portrait with her husband on the banks of Canada’s stunning Lake Minnewanka in Banff National Park, she didn’t expect a squirrel to steal the scene. “This curious little ground squirrel appeared, became intrigued with the sound of the focusing camera and popped right into our shot,” she writes. “We were laughing about this little guy for days!”

National Geographic magazine photo editor Susan Welchman selected the image of the rogue rodent, featured last Friday as one of the Daily Dozen. Colleague Marilyn Terrell, with National Geographic Traveler, details how the cheeky squirrel’s photograph has gone viral over the past few days on the Intelligent Travel blog.

The Daily Dozen showcases twelve new photos submitted by site visitors every weekday. Favorites appear each month in the print edition of the magazine. Browse today’s dozen, look through the archive, or submit your own best shot—if you think you’re ready to share the limelight with Lake Minnewanka’s most extroverted squirrel!

UPDATE (August 13, 2009):This photograph has become so popular that it’s now National Geographic’s Photo of the Day. I’m thrilled at the development, because it means it’s possible (as with all the thousands of brilliant photographs in the Photo of the Day archive) to download the image at large computer desktop “wallpaper” sizes. Canada’s “Crasher Squirrel” now graces my MacBook screen!

Photograph by Melissa Brandts