Albino squirrels are pretty rare and, therefore, a sight to behold. They have white fur with red eyes because they lack melanin (the pigment that gives your hair and skin color). These rare creatures look like they’ve been sprinkled with powdered sugar and are just as sweet as any other squirrel. We’ll take a peek into the fascinating world of albino squirrel facts. You might be surprised by what you read!
What is an Albino Squirrel?
An albino squirrel is a squirrel that has Albinism. It lacks pigment in its fur, resulting in a pale white coat. Albino squirrels are relatively rare, and their striking appearance often makes them the subject of fascination.
Albino and white squirrels are almost exclusively Eastern gray squirrels but can also be fox squirrels. Their color results from the albinism factor or the white morph gene.
What is Albinism?
Albinism is an inherited genetic mutation that suppresses the production of melanin. Melanin hormone creates pigment, giving hair, scales, eyes, skin, and fur color.
Lifespan of an Albino Squirrel
Though their lifespan is relatively short compared to other animals, they still enjoy a good quality of life.
On average, an albino squirrel will live for around 3-5 years in the wild. This may seem like a short time, but it is pretty long for a small rodent. In captivity, albino squirrels can live up to 10 years or more with proper care.
Interesting Albino Squirrel Facts
An albino’s lack of pigment often causes the eyes to develop abnormally, leading to many eye problems. Their inability to use both eyes together, called binocular vision, results in poor depth perception.
The eyes are red or blue. The eyes appear red because the blood vessels are close to the surface because there is no pigment in the iris.
The squirrel has white snow-like fur.
- An albino squirrel is at a disadvantage in the wild. Their uncamouflaged appearance makes hiding from predators, like hawks, difficult and significantly reduces their lifespan.
- Albino squirrels have no protection from the sun.
- They are often outcasted by their family and become loners, which also decreases their chance of survival.
4) What are the Odds of Seeing a White Squirrel?
The odds of seeing a white squirrel are about 1 in 10,000.
White Squirrel vs Albino Squirrel
There are several key differences between white squirrels and albino squirrels. For starters, white squirrels typically have white fur with black eyes, while albino squirrels have white fur with red eyes.
White squirrels, also called leucistic squirrels, are not truly albino since they produce melanin pigment, while albino squirrels cannot. Finally, white squirrels tend to be larger than albino squirrels.
Leucism is a condition where there is a partial loss of pigmentation in an animal, resulting in white, pale, or patchy coloring. Leucistic squirrels usually have black eyes and white fur, although they may also have pale gray or cream-colored fur. While leucism is sometimes confused with albinism, it is a different condition.
There are several different types of leucism, including:
- Tetra-leucism – there is a complete loss of pigmentation in the body, but the eyes retain their normal color.
- Partial leucism – only some parts of the body are affected by the condition
- Spotty leucism – there are random patches of white or pale coloration on the body.
5) What are the Odds of Seeing an Albino Squirrel?
Albino squirrels are incredibly rare, with estimates suggesting that there is only one albino squirrel for every 100,000 regular squirrels. So, your odds of seeing an albino squirrel are slim – but not impossible. If you’re lucky enough to spot one, you’ll be in for a real treat!
More Albino Squirrel Facts
6) Native American Meaning – White Squirrel
Albino squirrels have been a symbol of peace since the early 14th Century. Native Americans released a white squirrel onto the battlefield to represent a surrender to their opponent.
Most Native American tribes believe hunting or killing an albino animal is taboo. The hunter is punished and cursed for the remainder of their life. A hunter’s punishment for killing an albino squirrel is the loss of all hunting privileges.
7) Mythological Creature
An albino squirrel has a special place in mythology, which symbolizes that change is coming and urges you to prepare for it.
8) Squirrel Population – Olney, Illinois
It’s been more than 40 years since Olney College’s Dr. John Stencil started the Count, a monitoring system for the population’s health. Every year since then, volunteers have come from all over Illinois to participate. Every volunteer walks a specific route and records the number of white squirrels, grey squirrels, cats (squirrels’ greatest foes), feeders, and nests.
9) Albino Squirrels Have Special Privileges in Olney, Illinois
The town of Olney, Illinois, claims to be the home to the albino white squirrels. Squirrels in Olney benefit from protection against cats, motorists, and kidnappers.
- The police officers wear squirrel badges and enforce an ordinance stating outside cats must wear a leash at all times.
- All squirrels have the right-of-way on streets and sidewalks.
- A person that harms a squirrel faces a criminal offense carrying a $750 fine.
10) Are Albino Squirrels Rare?
Yes, about one in a million gray squirrels are affected by Albinism. Gene mutations resulting in Albinism must come from both parents, a rare phenomenon. The squirrel appears normal in color if the gene only comes from one parent.
There you have it, 11 nutty albino squirrel facts that are incredible and true. If you have photographed a white or albino squirrel, let us know, and submit your squirrel photos to appear on the website.
Look at the video below of Monte, the original Alabama Albino squirrel!
14 thoughts on “10 Albino Squirrel Facts You Need to Know!”
It is so nice to know the difference between a white & albino squirrel. I thought all this time they were both the same. Always fun to read this magazine.
??? Awwwww, Monte is adorable!
Isn’t he adorable? How lucky for him to show up at just the right time!
Monte surely timed his arrival…do you think that was planned? 🙂
Yeah i just today found out about albino squirrels is because today when I was driving home I spotted a white squirrel and I didn’t even know about white sqiurlls or albinos until then and I don’t know if the one I saw was albino, or just a white squirrel because I didn’t get to get a good look at it before it ran away.
still amazing to see a squirrel like that though.
I’m glad you’re enjoying our article on albino squirrels! Yes, Albino squirrels are rare and we’re happy to hear that you were able to spot a white one. No matter a white squirrel or albino, consider yourself lucky to spot one. What a great day indeed. We hope you have an opportunity to have another sighting soon. Let us know if you do!
Whoo Hoo gooooo Olney Illinois!!!! Wish every city was this way.
Very interesting about native American as well.
Always learn so much. Thank you!!!
I have an albino squirrel in the yard of my office in Marin . I will send pictures soon.
We would love to see your albino office squirrel!
In MN the albino squirrels are not very rare – at my last house near St. Paul I had 4 albino squirrels in my backyard at the same time, at a different place I lived there was at least 1, and now near Minneapolis I have 1 albino squirrel in my yard. They all had pink eyes.
Hi, I just wanted to let you know that there is a colony of white squirrels in Kenton, TN that are NOT albino squirrels. They have been there for decades, in fact no one can say for sure when the first ones were first seen. They are also protected but no cat restrictions that I am aware of. Kenton is in northwest TN, a small community of about 1,300 people.
Thank you for your message about the white squirrels in Kenton. I read some literature from a biologist who said they were Albino squirrels. I included the video in my article and an article from Roadside America also mentioned Albinos. Of course, I’ve not seen for myself, but your comment spurred the necessity to learn more. https://kittycitysquirrels.com/white-squirrels-of-kenton
Thank you for your insight,
We have an albino squirrel that’s been in our neighborhood for about 10 years now. He visits our deck regularly and has special privileges over the grey squirrels because they bully him. I call him by name now and he seems to know it. (“Whitey” lol). Anyway, he visits here to eat 2 to 3 times a week.
Thank you so much for your message. Wow, what a lucky albino squirrel to have lived that long in the wild. How blessed you both are. Also, thanks for the photos of Whitey. We love to see squirrels from around the world.