navbar
Biome map

Terrestrail Biomes button ICE CAPS biome Arctic tundra Alpine tundra Taiga (Boreal Forest) biome Deciduous Forest Bioime Rainforest biome Temperate Grasslands Biome Tropical Savanna Chaparral Desert Scrub Desert Stream and River Ecosystems Lake and Pond Ecosystems wetland ecosystems Estuaries (Ecosystem) Intertidal Ecosystems Coastal Ecosystems Coral Reefs Oceanic Pelagic Abyssal Zone

 

 

 

blank Biomes Defined Meet the Crew Biome Trivia ORDER VIDEOS Biology Video Podcasts (Science Podcasting) Biology Newsletter: from Explore Biodiversity

White Squirrels of North America

Thanks so much for coming to my white squirrel page. I'm still doing research on them, and if you've seen one, I need your help. To help you understand these beautiful creatures, I made a little video about them (to the right).

What we normally think of when we think of squirrels are tree dwelling gray or reddish mammals. Rarely do we imagine their cousins, the ground squirrels (Prairie dogs) or marmots, even though they are in the same family. Nor do we think of squirrels as white! But, there are many places around the country that have white or albino squirrel populations.

White Squirrel - not an Albino SquirrelMajor places that have white squirrels are:

  • Marionville, Missouri (read)
  • Brevard, North Carolina
  • Olney, Illinois
  • Kenton, Tennessee
  • Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Exeter, Ontario Canada (web)

Have you seen a White Squirrel?
Keep your eyes open because there are lots of places where you can find this rare squirrel variety. We have started a map where visitors that have seen a white squirrel can map it. We want to start a community of white squirrel enthusiasts. Join and tell us where to find these animals!

Adaptations for Squirrels in Deciduous Forests:
Most squirrels are gray or red, an adaptation that allows them to blend in to the surrounding vegetation. Tree trunks are usually a dark color and the mottled gray color of the common forest squirrels (like the Eastern Gray Squirrel photo below). However, several towns across america have claimed to have a large population of white squirrels. How could this be if it is advantageous to blend in with the tree trunks to hide from predators?

This is a case of classic natural selection, the driving force behind evolutionary change. Evolution by definition is the changing of the genetic makeup of a population over time. The trait for being white is a genetic anomalie that is usually weeded out because they are so quickly seen by predators. But today we have a different predator: humans.

grey squirrel

Many towns have proclaimed to be the "Home of the White Squirrels," and as a result have started trapping and removing their darker brothers and sisters. What a great example of natural selection that has quickly created a dominant squirrel population that is white.

However, there are other places around the country where white squirrels are popping up and it may not be a result of humans trapping the squirrels. Many places have white stone and white buildings of which white squirrels would be highly adapted too. This small advantage may allow white squirrel populations to spread.

White and Albino Squirrel Map

But, today squirrel populations are still mostly dark. It is a very special thing to see a white squirrel. If you've seen a squirrel in your neighborhood I have started a database. Please fill out this white squirrel report form so that I can compile a map of all these squirrels around the country.

White Squirrel Links

white squirrel

Can't find what you're looking for? Search The Wild Classroom:

The Wild Classroom Home biology concepts biodiversity educators videos store links soon to come