BY THE PACKET
An alert Packet reader perusing her neighborhood captured extremely rare images of an albino squirrel(Sciurus carolinensis) feeding on nuts in the yard of a Northside home. Albino squirrels are recognizable by pink or blue eyes and the complete lack of pigmentation anywhere on the body. Albino squirrels that have been captured as pets reportedly also suffer from skin disorders and dandruff, in addition to bad eyesight.
The genetic variance only occurs when both mama and papa squirrel have the absence of the pigment, melanin, which is a recessive gene. True albino squirrels are estimated to occur in only one in 100,000 gray squirrel births. The odd coloring on the squirrels, combined by their poor eyesight, occasionally leads to their cohabitation with white rabbits.
Albino squirrels, like the one caught on film in Columbus, are more rare than their close cousin the white squirrel. White squirrels, which have normal eyes and sometimes have a slight brown or gray coloring on their under-body have been discovered and are a protected species in several small pockets of the United States. Brevard, NC and Olney, Illinois both feature the rodents in tourism ads and both vigorously defend the species, giving them the right of way on some city streets and levying heavy fines for any party that might injure or kill one.
The most notable albino squirrel sightings in recent years have taken place at the University of Texas at Austin. The creatures have been sighted on the campus for more than 20 years, and now have an organization that exists simply to defend them. The Albino Squirrel Preservation Society’s motto on their website reads: “In the constant pursuit of albino squirrel rights.”
If anyone in Columbus wants to help the society or start a local chapter, please read below.
Here at the ASPS, we believe that the fight for squirrel rights is a truly global cause. If you are interested in registering an ASPS chapter on your campus, please
contact us for more information.
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