Is this a normal color for a squirrel? Is it albino as some suggest? He/she...

Asked August 7, 2016, 9:28 PM EDT

Is this a normal color for a squirrel? Is it albino as some suggest? He/she visits our house often for peanuts but is not the color of the other squirrels. They are the color of the tail on this one. Kind of interesting. Is it so old, it's fur is changing, like our hair does when we age? Just curious. Hope you have a answer. Thanks

Allen County Ohio

5 Responses

There is a huge variety of color in squirrels, this is not albino. The United States is home to five different types of squirrels; fox, gray, red, flying and ground. Two species of gray squirrels inhabit the United States, the western gray and the eastern gray. The eastern gray squirrel normally inhabits the northeastern United States, although it has invaded the western United States, as well as Europe. The western gray squirrel lives in three separate locations along the western coast. Both of these large squirrels appear in a variety of colors, which include black, gray, brown, cream and red.

Is it natural for them to be so many mixed colors? This is another picture.

yes, the Eastern Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensi), is a very variable species, gray squirrels can have white fur but not be albinos -the coloration pattern for an all white squirrel with normal colored eyes is called leucistic. The presence of patches of coloration in your picture makes it not true leucistic. Common places for patches are seen in this picture. There is a town in North Carolina (Brevard) famous for its white squirrels.









This squirrel started out as a fox squirrel, then the white became a small saddle across it's back. Now it has completely covered it's back. It did not start out white, but a reddish color. We have watched it evolve into this color. I can find pictures that I took early on if you need proof.

I would agree that this squirrel is a fox squirrel. There is also variability in color among fox squirrels as there is in gray squirrels, as Vicki explained. Leucistic patches can occur just about anywhere on animal, so there may be patches of 'normal' colored fur elsewhere on the animal. Though the patches of leucistic fur are usually all white. In your picture, even the white fur is streaked with black and gray hairs. This leads me to doubt that it is leucism. Fox squirrels live anywhere from 8 to 18 years old, though the average life span in the wild is only 7 months. So it's unlikely that the color change is due from old age. It could be that this is a younger squirrel and you have been watching it grow into it's colors. It is a very strange color, and not usual. If you would, please email me directly with some pictures (early to recent). I'd like to pass them on to a few of my colleagues to see what they think. Thanks! - Marne Titchenell (titchenell.4@osu.edu)



I can't find anything about a change in fur coloration over time in leucistic animals.