Behold, the white squirrels at play

white squirrels delaware ave albany

Not common, but easy to spot.

Today's Moment of Nature* comes via Amy Riddell at Emack and Bolio's, who noticed a pair of white squirrels playing (or whatever it is squirrels do) in the ice cream shop's yard.

Amy says the white squirrel has lived in the Delaware Ave neighborhood for a few years, and people have spotted two babies (one of them is in the photo with the mother). After much chasing, Bennett also spotted what could be the same white squirrel last year. (There have been white squirrel sightings in Troy, too.) [Photo This] [RPInsider]

A lot of people refer to white squirrels as albino, but most of the squirrels probably don't have that condition. They're actually just genetic color variants of regular gray squirrels, in which the genes for the white belly are active in other parts of the animal's coat (albinism is a different situation). Look for the eyes -- if they're not red/pink/blue, it's probably not an albino squirrel (and too bad -- because albino squirrels have their own preservation society). Some have argued the all-white fur could even be an adaptation to urban environments (we're skeptical -- but maybe it makes them easier to spot when they cross the street). [NYT] [Wikipedia] [Science Buzz] [The Wild Classroom]

Places with unusually large populations of white squirrels have taken the animals as claims to fame -- with fights over which place is actually the white squirrel capital of the country. Some of the claims include origin myths. There was even a white squirrel-related request for federal pork this year (in Tennessee). And, of course, the obligatory tribute video to the white squirrels from a town in North Carolina. [Roadside America] [NC Farm Bureau] [ABC News]

One more Delaware Ave white squirrel pic from Amy is after the jump.

* It's like that segment at the end of CBS Sunday Morning in which video of cranes standing in a wetland runs for a minute or two without voice over.

(Thanks, Amy!)

white squirrels delaware ave albany tall

Comments

A few years ago we had a white squirrel living in our backyard in Loudonville. It looked more like a fluffy white kitten than a squirrel. Then one day it decided to chew through the insulation on some power lines. Took out power to the whole block. My neighbor found its crispy little white corpse. We haven't had any other white ones since.

don't forget the black squirrels
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_squirrel

or dead squirrel
http://youtu.be/TjQ-DBiO894

Awesome! I've been seeing them more and more often and figured there was a growing colony, but I've never seen more than one at a time. Thanks for the evidence! Yes I am a little too excited about squirrels.

I demand to know their names!

Cool... the downside may be that it makes it easier for predators to see them -- except in the snow, of course.

I've seen one at Wolf road a few years ago.

This is probably the weirdest thing I've read on AOA all year.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zcyUlXanDZc

I made a student documentary about White Squirrel Towns. Here's part 1 of 3.

Some of these people are... nuts. Part 3 has one of the cast members from Survivor.

Being a dog owner, all squirrels are my natural enemy and I'm sure my dog would chase these two as readily as she chased all those black ones when I took her to my hometown for the first time this summer.

The first white squirrel spotted in the garden of Emack & Bolio's ice cream and coffee shop was named Vanilla Bean.

My parents have jet-black squirrels in their Syracuse back yard. They will not come up on the feeder if the gray squirrels are there.

Tim, Vanilla Bean and E.B. White.

Thanks!

One of those jerks ended up in my house.

This is incredible. I saw my first white squirrel in October, but I was in Oberlin, Ohio.

there was one hanging out by Zombie Planet on Central Ave not too long ago, too! i tried taking a picture of it, but my phone wasn't cooperating. an awesome opportunity ruined by faulty electronics.

I lived in that neighborhood about eight years ago, they had the white squirrels back then too.

They're kind of freaky looking. I've seen quite a lot of black squirrels though, when I was in SU for grad school. Rumor has it that they were released by some students from a research lab many years ago.

Seen these guys often from B's windows, but *that* below I'd like to see too:
Extremely Rare Albino Raccoon

I have been feeding a white squirrel in my backyard. I am wanting to keep it protected....any ideas?

Thanks,
Mary

I have seen a white squirrel in Troy, Ohio a few times.... I am positive it is the same one because it is always at this one house. I guess it is just someones pet that has been tamed.

THere are now eight white squirrels here. They live right past food kng. They are so adorable!!!!

Saw a white squirrel thus morning on Elk st in Albany first time I have seen one so beautiful

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