When the Antler Ridge Wildlife Sanctuary in Warren County, New Jersey received a call about a litter of squirrels, they were stunned to see what they found in the attic they were born in.
Antler Ridge had rescued over 1,600 Eastern Grey squirrels since 2008. Their goal is to treat and care for injured or orphaned wild animals. Most of the animals are returned to the wild after being rehabilitated, but there was one squirrel in the litter they simply could not release.
Filbert, is a white squirrel, that Linda DeLorenzo, a wildlife rehabilitator, said they weren’t sure if he was an albino or if he was leucistic (a partial loss pigment.)
When a squirrel has leucism, it will have dark eyes, but an albino will have red eyes. It is not unusual for squirrels to be born with light colored fur, it changes as they grow.
Filbert’s coat, however, never changed. It remained white as he grew and when Filbert was four weeks old, his eyes opened, and it was then they knew Filbert was an albino.
While the rest of the litter was released into the wild at twelve weeks old, Filbert remained with the sanctuary. The staff said it would be risky for Filbert to live in the wild difficult because he didn’t have any way to remain hidden from predators because of his color.
Filbert will live at Antler Ridge and teach students about albinism and squirrels. Albino squirrels are rare and only 1 out of every 100,000 is albino.
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