COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – A scurry of white squirrels was spotted frolicking by a mailbox recently in central Ohio.
An NBC4 viewer named Debbie said she has seen these squirrels in Pickerington’s Summerfield subdivision twice.
According to Debbie, the squirrels are usually out and about mid-morning and there are a total of four.
“I live in Eastchester Sub across the street and I used to see one all the time,” Debbie went on to explain. “They were just playing. Really neat.”
Since the original posting of this story, NBC4i.com visitors have been sending us more pictures of white squirrels from our area and around Ohio.
We received local submissions from Bexley, Clintonville, Gahanna, Grove City, North Linden, Pickerington, Reynoldsburg, Westerville, Whitehall and Worthington. Some pictures came from as far away as Maineville and Oberlin, Ohio.
Anne Crabtree from Gahanna also shared her experience with white squirrels.
“Grew up in Gahanna. There have been a family of albino squirrels behind Middle school West and Chapefield Elementary off Stygler Road since the ’60s my Mom said,” Crabtree wrote. “I lived across the street from the schools from 1985 to 2007and saw them all the time.”
According to the website “Untamed Science,” white squirrels are generally eastern gray squirrels that have white coats due to various types of genetic mutations.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources website lists the eastern gray squirrel as “common” in Ohio.
An article on Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources site points out that white squirrels are either known as albino or leucistic. Albino squirrels have no dark pigments on their bodies and distinctive red eyes. Squirrels with white coats and dark eyes are called leucistic.
The term leucistic is defined as, “a wide variety of conditions that result in the partial loss of pigmentation in an animal causing white, pale, or patchy coloration of the skin, hair, feathers, scales, or cuticles, but not the eyes.”
The GDNR article also explains that, “Scientists believe that occasionally squirrels are born without the genes that enable their bodies to produce normal amounts of a chemical known as melanin. A squirrel’s hair color is determined by the amount of melanin in its hair cells. Those with little melanin are white.”