Country corner with George Hogg

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Abbie Marland, a great friend of Country Corner, has been out and about with her camera again.

This week, she has sent us pictures of an albino Grey Squirrel spotted on a local estate.

It has to be said that squirrels look particularly smart in white.

As you may know, when Grey Squirrels were first brought over from North America, it was as a curiosity to be kept in zoological collections or released on private estates to add interest and to ‘out do’ rival estate owners.

Not only was there great demand for unusual species, there was also great kudos to be had from owning unusual variants of those species.

For this reason, both black and albino varieties were very popular, so much so that even today these colour varieties crop up regularly in the wild, such is the influence of all those original curiosities within the gene pool.

There is a widely-held belief that bright or dark variants within a species will rapidly fall victim to predators, but this does not seem to be the case as regards albino Grey Squirrels.

Many of these individuals seem to live a normal lifespan for the species, often becoming well known and recognised among local countrymen and women.

In fact, being so cute might even help to lengthen their lives, as those foresters and gamekeepers whose job includes controlling Grey Squirrel populations might just think twice about shooting such bonny animals!

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