Saturday 25 March 2017

White squirrels spotted in woodland

Two rare white squirrels have set up home in woodland near Middlesbrough.
Two rare white squirrels have set up home in woodland near Middlesbrough.

A pair of white squirrels has set up home in a forest hideaway.

Visitors spotted the two grey squirrels in woodland at Guisborough Forest, Teesside, and their snowy pelts are caused by a rare genetic mutation.

Wildlife ranger Cath Brason said: "There has been the odd white squirrel in the population here now and again for the past 30 years, but this is the first time ever there has been two.The white gene must be there in the gene pool.

"We don't have to do anything special to look after them, they just dot about in the trees with all the other squirrels. They're easier to spot because they are white.

"Their fur makes them more vulnerable to attack from predators as they have no natural camouflage, so they are doing well to be here at all. They keep to the part of the woodland with the fruit-bearing trees. They seem to like sweet chestnuts."

A range of wildlife, including adders, badgers and dragonflies, lives in the 900-acre beauty spot near Middlesbrough.

The squirrels are a one-in-100,000 freak of nature, a Forestry Commission spokesman said. They are the only white squirrels living in a quarter of a million acres of forest in North Yorkshire, Northumberland, and County Durham.

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