If you live in Alabama, I’m sure you’ve seen an Eastern Gray Squirrel or two in your lifetime (or perhaps too many to count). However, there’s a new squirrel in town. The White Squirrel. Read on, this Huntsville find is NUTS. Sorry, I can’t resist acorny joke.
What is a White Squirrel?
White Squirrels come from Eastern Gray Squirrels, a genetic anomaly due to a mutated gene. White Squirrels are uncommon, to say the least. So in common, in fact, there is a 1 in 100,000 chance that the offspring of an Eastern Gray Squirrel will be snow-white. Aren’t they gorgeous?
But wait, there’s more. There are two types of White Squirrel—albino and leucistic, also known as white murph. Albino White Squirrels require both squirrels to carry this rare gene in order for their offspring to be albino. The biggest sign that you’ve found an Albino White Squirrel is the eyes. They’ll have red eyes, as opposed to the dark eyes on White Murph Squirrels.
Which is the rarest type of White Squirrel, you ask? The Albino White Squirrel only accounts for 20-30% of the White Squirrel population.
Legend of the White Squirrel + Brevard, NC celebrations
Legend has it, the White Squirrels came from a carnival. When the truck overturned in 1949, the pair of White Squirrels ran off until they were caught. Their captor tried to breed the rare squirrel. After the attempts were unsuccessful, they were released. In the wild, they reproduced and filled Brevard, North Carolina with White Squirrels.
As a North Carolina native myself, I didn’t even realize there was such thing as a White Squirrel but they’ve become famous residents of the City of Brevard. Now, Brevard has implemented protection laws for the squirrels, has a White Squirrel gift shop and even hosts a White Squirrel Festival every year.
You could travel to Brevard to catch a glimpse at the rare White Squirrel or you could keep an eye out in your own backyard. Huntsville, we’ve got a Squirrel-Lock Holmes on our hands.
Where’d she find this White Squirrel? On Monte Sano Mountain.
Carolyn Alexander is a local photographer who photographs on the mountain frequently. She’d heard whispers of a White Squirrel sighting in Huntsville, so she made several trips to Monte Sano and kept an eye out. That’s when she found it.
“He found me. He was a godsend. I just looked up and there he was.”—Carolyn Alexander, photographer
In the comments, many other Huntsvillians shared their own White Squirrel sightings. Be on the lookout. White Squirrels are here, so go find them. Go nuts, Huntsville.
Have you spotted a White Squirrel? We want to see it! Tag us @thebamabuzz.