WESTFIELD, Mass. (The Westfield News) – Black squirrels, uncommon in many places, are not unusual in the Whip City but now a new rarity has been spotted in Wyben – a white squirrel.
George Fanion of Wyben reports that a couple of weeks ago some of his neighbors mentioned seeing a white squirrel in their neighborhood but he didn’t think much about it until one appeared outside his living room window.
“I looked out one day and bingo, – there was a white squirrel,” he said. Since then, Fanion said, at least one white squirrel has been visiting his bird feeder recently. “I’m feeding him bird seed and he’s eating like crazy,” Fanion said yesterday afternoon while speaking on the phone and simultaneously watching the squirrel eat from the bird feeder outside his window.
He thinks there are two because he has seen one which appears to be smaller but added “I’m not positive that there’s a second one.”
Seth Kellogg of Southwick, a wildlife authority and columnist, said white squirrels are not unheard of but are very rare.
He said that, like the black squirrels which are common in the city, white squirrels are members of the gray squirrel species but are merely differently colored.
He said the white squirrels are “a different color morph, it’s very unusual. White is very rare and it has a special name” he said identifying it as “leucistic.”
“They’re just kind of a genetic accident” he said and said that, like the black squirrels, the white ones can breed with any members of the gray squirrel species. Although they might have leucistic offspring, they are much more likely to have common gray progeny, he said.
Media Credit: The Westfield News