AUBURN, Ala (EETV)- A local squirrel spotted on Auburn’s campus is bringing a lot of attention, and causing a lot of confusion among students and faculty members.
The squirrel, which is completely white, has been spotted in several areas on campus and is possibly the rarest wild animal spotted in recent months at Auburn.
“This is kinda of a unique situation,” said Auburn University Coordinator for Biological Sciences Matthew Kearley.
The squirrel’s unusual coloring is due to it being albino, which is a recessive genetic trait that is rarely seen in animals living in the wild.
“It’s really unusual to see a squirrel that’s made it to maturity that has this albino because being a prey species for a lot of predators the fact that it has that white hair would really make it highly susceptible in a natural environment,” said Kearley.
Kearley, one of the many people on campus who has seen the animal in person, says that the fact the squirrel has lived to maturity is unusual and points to its location on campus as a possible reason for its survival.
“In this setting you got some protection for this squirrel,” says Kearley, “because obviously it’s not gonna be as exposed to natural predators as it would be in a more rural setting.”
Kearley mentions that the squirrel is one of the more rare animals he has seen in his years working in the field.
“In all the time I’ve spend in the field I’ve never seen an albino of any smaller mammalian species,” said Kearley, “and so this is really rare at least from my experience to see anything like that.”