Janesville residents report sightings of rare white squirrel
JANESVILLE--Elizabeth and Mark Lencho of Janesville were on their front porch in the Briar Crest subdivision early one morning when they spotted a white squirrel in their neighbor's tree, Elizabeth said.
“We were just out on the porch with our 6-month-old when Mark spotted the squirrel,” Elizabeth said. “So I ran for the camera and snapped a photo of it just in time. It was all white with dark eyes.”
White fur on squirrels and other animals can be from the rare condition leuicsm, caused by a recessive gene that prevents the proper development of pigment cells. It's different from albinism, that results in animals with pink eyes.
According to Roadside America, these white creatures are scattered throughout North America, with the highest population in Olney, Illinois, known as the White Squirrel Capital of The World.
Other locations include, North Carolina, Tennessee, Canada, and Missouri.
The Lencho's are not the first to spot a white squirrel in Janesville. They have been seen by several people in the Briar Crest community. Jim Kealy said he and his wife, Shelly, saw a different squirrel.
“The next day, Friday, I saw another squirrel in our front yard. This one was a pie bald," Kealy said, referring to a condition that results in spotting pattern of unpigmented white fur.
DNR wildlife technician Brian Buenzow said he has heard of no other white squirrel reports.