Rare white squirrel spotted in Leamington

Photo of the White Squrrel spotted around the Princes Drive area of Leamington. Photo by Esther Williamson
Photo of the White Squrrel spotted around the Princes Drive area of Leamington. Photo by Esther Williamson

Courier reader Esther Williamson has sent in these photos of a rare white squirrel spotted in her garden in the Princes Drive area of Leamington.

The squirrel was also spotted near the railway bridge yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon.

Photo of the White Squrrel spotted around the Princes Drive area of Leamington. Photo by Esther Williamson

Photo of the White Squrrel spotted around the Princes Drive area of Leamington. Photo by Esther Williamson

Only a few white squirrels are albinos, recognizable by pink or blue eyes and the absence of pigmentation anywhere on the body.

The gene for such an absence of the pigment, melanin, is recessive, so each parent must carry it to produce an albino squirrel.

White squirrels are either albino or born with leucism, a mutated gene which turns them white but keeps their eyes black.

This one has black eyes so is not albino – and only a handful of the UK’s five million squirrels suffer with the mutation.

Photo of the White Squrrel spotted around the Princes Drive area of Leamington. Photo by Esther Williamson

Photo of the White Squrrel spotted around the Princes Drive area of Leamington. Photo by Esther Williamson

Experts say that white squirrels are more vulnerable to attack from predators as they have no natural camouflage.