The Company’s Garden has been temporarily closed since March 19, in line with the national lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus and it appears that it’s not only humans who have been shut out.
This white squirrel was recently spotted alone in Tuin Plein, close to the Jewish Museum. It appeared friendly and was possibly scavenging for food.
Maybe it had not been prepared for lockdown and had forgotten where it had hidden its acorns. Or maybe it got used to being fed by friendly humans, not seeing the need to bury acorns for the proverbial rainy day.
But why is this often-photographed squirrel white? Is it albino? Is it a good omen or bad to see one?
According to UntamedScience, white squirrels are almost always a white version of the eastern grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis).
However, there are a few abnormalities that result in them having white coats. The first is albinism, caused by a mutation in a gene that codes for pigmentation.
The odds of seeing an albino squirrel, which has red eyes, are one in 100 000. And while white squirrels may often mistakenly be described as being albinos, in most cases they are actually squirrels that exhibit a rare white fur colouration, known as leucism, which is as a result of a recessive gene found within certain eastern grey squirrel populations.
If you see an albino squirrel, legend has it that you’ll have good luck that day. And did you know the name for a group of squirrels is a scurry or dray. They are very territorial and will fight to the death to defend their area. Mother squirrels are the most vicious when defending their babies.