Last week, Mary Curtius, a spokeswoman for Arlington County’s government, took a video of the white squirrel near the corner of 25th Road North and 25th Street North in north Arlington.
Since then, the video, which was posted on the Arlington County Facebook page, has been viewed more than 500 times.
In the video, the squirrel stops for a moment to look at Curtius before running away. Curtius said she was walking her dog, Ferris, when she spotted the animal, but she couldn’t get too close because Ferris “hates squirrels.”
According to experts, genetics can cause the white coats. They’re fairly rare but not unheard of. White and albino squirrels can be easy for predators to catch. Unlike their white squirrel relatives, albino squirrels have pink eyes.
Alonso Abugattas, the natural resources manager for Arlington’s Parks and Recreation Department, said seeing albino or white squirrels in that area is rare. Still, a website called “Untamed Science,” run by Rob Nelson, an ecologist from the University of Hawaii, says white squirrels sightings aren’t all that uncommon in the Washington region.
Apparently the white nut-gatherers are common enough in some places that some towns claim to be the “White Squirrel Capital of the World,” including Olney, Ill., population of roughly 8,600. The Olney police department even has patches on their uniforms showing white squirrels. Other cities that claim to have large white squirrel populations include Kenton, Tenn., and Brevard, N.C., according to roadsideamerica.com.
Given that the white squirrel she spotted doesn’t camouflage well, Curtius said, “who knows how long it will last?” There’s been “no snow to hide him,” she said, but the squirrel did look fat and healthy.
“I think he’s beautiful,” she said.