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Photos: Possible albino squirrel sighting in Arlington

A rare albino squirrel may be living near Yorktown High School.

A local teen sent ARLnow photos of the squirrel, above, taken in the Yorktown neighborhood. The critter has noticeably red eyes, a characteristic of albino squirrels.

Another photo of the squirrel, taken in Greenbrier Park near the high school, was posted earlier this month to the Capital Naturalist Facebook group.

The last white squirrel spotted in Arlington and reported on by ARLnow was back in 2016 near Columbia Pike.

Albino squirrels in particular are exceptionally rare — about 1 in every 100,000 gray squirrel births, according to a post on the Georgia Dept. of Natural Resources website.

“There are two basic types of white squirrels: albino and leucistic. Albinos have pink or blue eyes and no dark pigments anywhere on their bodies,” the post notes. “Squirrels that have white coats and dark eyes are called leucistic.”

“The scarcity of albino squirrels is thought to be at least partially linked to the animal’s lack of any dark eye pigment: This leaves them more susceptible to the harmful effects of sun rays, which can permanently damage their eyes,” the post adds. “In turn, their poor eyesight makes them more likely to suffer injury and death by falling out of trees.”

Alonso Abugattas, Natural Resources Manager for Arlington County and the administrator of the Capital Naturalist group, said there have also been reports of white squirrels in neighboring jurisdictions like McLean and D.C. — on the National Mall — over the past few months.

“Most of these are white squirrels, but not albinos,” Abugattas told ARLnow. “Albinos due to a lack of pigment have pink eyes [and] are indeed very rare as this affects their sight.”

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