This adorable little guy comes to us all the way from the UK, where one keen-eyed resident spotted him scurrying about in a local city park.
Tim Clifton, a 54-year-old father of two from Sussex, England, couldn’t believe it when the furry white fellow darted out from under some nearby bushes into his path. It took Tim a minute to even realize what he was looking at, but soon he understood that this was an incredibly rare albino squirrel and not some other unidentified species.
Clifton’s first thought when seeing it rustling under the brush was that it might have been a seagull, he told reporters. As he got closer, however, he saw that it was, in fact, a rare white squirrel.
“He came out with a dirty nose and it looked like he had a white suit on, but he didn’t realize he had messed it up. It was quite funny,” he went on, saying that he went to sit on a bench and the curious little squirrel continued to approach him. “He looked at me as if to say ‘got anything for me Mr?’”
The squirrel seemed to enjoy being the center of attention for a bit too, even confidently posing for the camera as Clifton snapped away, capturing several angles of the curious little creature. Despite their typically timid demeanor, Clifton said that this little guy seemed to be totally unfettered by his impromptu photo shoot.
“I couldn’t believe my luck,” the amateur wildlife photographer said. “I’m not sure if I’ll ever see another one that brave. I was amazed.”
He also mentioned that seeing a squirrel like this in the wild was a very rare feat. So rare, in fact, that the odds of a squirrel being born with albinism, which is caused by the mutation of a gene that controls pigmentation, are only one in one hundred thousand!
The mutation also causes them to have red eyes, which can be startling at first, but the squirrels are no different in behavior than those who do not have the condition. Unfortunately for them, however, they do suffer from a marked vision impairment compared to their non-albino brothers and sisters.
Clifton says that, despite spending a significant amount of time outdoors with his camera, he had only ever seen one other squirrel with this condition, and that time he wasn’t fortunate to have his camera on him.
“I’m very proud and thrilled to get these pictures,” Mr. Clifton said to the Daily Mail, saying that they will make a great addition to his albums of other, more traditionally colored critters. “I took a variety of pictures of the Albino. I really like the one where the squirrel is standing on its back legs as it looks like it has trousers on… I have had a fantastic reaction to the pictures from people who had never seen one. I do get a buzz from sharing my pictures.”
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