Scot captures images of rare albino squirrel in garden

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A SCOT has captured a series of images of a rare albino squirrel visiting his garden.

Louis Robb couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw the unusual creature appear at the bottom of his back garden in Cramond, Edinburgh on Tuesday.
 
The 89-year-old ex-Navy officer said he and his teacher son Gregory have had the critter visiting them continuously since, after leaving out nuts and bird seed.

Louis managed to capture photographs of the entirely white squirrel exploring his garden and running up his trees.

The albino squirrel pictures on the side of a tree in Louis's Edinburgh garden.
Lois spotted the albino squirrel in his garden in Cramond, Edinburgh.                                                           (C) Louis Robb

An albino squirrel is so rare the chances of spotting one are just one in 100,000, with around only 50 of them living in the UK. 

Speaking today, Louis said: “It was a great thrill seeing it – it’s pure white, and quite a bit smaller and dainty compared to the other squirrels.
 
“It usually makes its appearance in the morning, turning up at the bottom of the garden, at the foot of a lime tree every time.
 
“I did see one many, many years ago fleetingly, but this is the first time I’ve seen one up close – and for it to keep coming back is a real treat.
 
“Other squirrels are a bit of a pest – cute to look at but can be a real nuisance. But, this one’s different – it seems very happy to just scoot around the garden here.”
 
Louis’s son Gregory, 63, said seeing the white rodent was a mood-lifter.

He said: “We were very, very surprised to see it – it’s quite extraordinary to see something like that in most cases, but right in your backyard even more so.
 
“I did worry that it would get shunned by the other squirrels that visit here because of its colour, but it seems to get along very well with the group.”

Father and son Louis Robb and Gregory Robb - who spotted the squirrel in Edinburgh - picture sitting on some steps.
Louis Robb (R), 89, with son Gregory Robb (L), 63.                                                                                     (C) Louis Robb

Albinism is a genetic condition that reduces the amount of melanin a creature has.

The condition can seriously reduce an animal’s chance of survival in the wild.
 
The condition leaves skin or fur pure white – a major problem for creatures such as squirrels who need to blend in with trees and leaves to avoid predators.
 
Albinism also results in poor eyesight. The pink or reddish eyes that albinos have can develop abnormally, resulting in poor depth perception.
 
All of this, in addition to the fact that albinism occurs in just one in 100,000 mammal births means that albino squirrels are incredibly rare.
 
Some have estimated that there are only around 50 albino squirrels in the UK.
 
There is a difference between the rare albino squirrel and the even rarer white squirrel though – of which experts estimate are fewer than one in a million.
 
White squirrels suffer from leucism, a mutated gene which turns their skin white but leaves their eyes black, meaning they do have any of the eye problems that albinos have.