2006_10_albinosquir.jpgYesterday, an albino squirrel was spotted in Prospect Park, making us wonder about the origins of albino squirrels. A quick search on NYTimes.com led us to a 1988 Q&A about squirrel "genetic isolation, inbreding and mutation". According to Prospect Park ecologist Gerald Escayg, squirrels don't avoid them, but since the pouplation is so large, there are only few mutations:

In Prospect Park, for example, there is an albino squirrel, but only one so far, he noted. He said it was unlikely that the trait would appear in the next generation but more likely that it would be shown in the one after that.

Now, a squirrel's life expectancy is about one year (though it can go up to 10), which could make this albino squirrel a descendant after 17-18 generations!

Other photographs of Prospect Park's albino squirrel from honeycut and sbethell.