squirrel extermination

White Squirrel Fanfare

Who would have thought that certain kinds of rodents will grow to be too popular and loved that towns around the United States will clash between each other just to get the title of being their original host? Blame it to the curious case of the albino squirrels. White squirrels are not that abundant in the US. In fact, of the three squirrel species that possess a white coat, only one is found in the US, the Sciurus. But that's not what's really interesting about white squirrels. The real deal is that the towns squabble about the Leucistic and Albino white squirrels. Such squirrels can be considered as "mutated" squirrels, that is, they are not really from a family of white squirrels (probably grey or brown) and because of either natural or artificial genetic mutation, they developed a white coat. Of course, those towns that fight for the right to claim to be the "home of the white squirrels" want to be popular for the naturally mutated ones and we are talking about 5 different towns here!

Town: Kenton, Tennessee
Total land area: 2.0 sq. mi
Total human population (as of 2000): 1306
Claimed Total squirrel population: 200

Kenton locals insist that white squirrels have been in their town the longest as compared to the other towns that claim to be the original host of the these rodents. It is said that white squirrels started to live in Kenton in 1869 after a "gypsy caravan" accidentally left their carnival squirrels in the town. There is a rumour that Kenton is the original place where the white squirrels first bred, before some of them set out for the other towns.

Town: Olney, Illinois
Total land area: 5.8 sq. mi
Total Population (as of 2000): 8,631
Claimed Total Squirrel Population: not revealed

This town is perhaps the noisiest when it comes to actively promoting the white squirrels as their local emblem. They have billboards that say "Home of the White Squirrels" in prominent places. They brag about having the most albinos, scoffing the other towns to have white squirrels with black eyes. Every year, the town conducts a squirrel count that is participated by the locals. They look for all the squirrels in the town to determine their actual population and to observe whether this population has been growing over the past year.

Squirrels are freer than humans in Olney when it comes to street rules. They have full right-of-way everywhere in the town, no matter which street. People who hurt the squirrels by accidents are liable to the law, so much more those who intentionally hurt them. If a local brings the squirrel outside town, he or she has to pay a huge fine. Not only that, local police in Olney wears a uniform that has a white squirrel patch on its left sleeve.

Town: Marionville, Missouri
Total land area: 1.4 sq. mi
Total human population (as of 2000): 2,113
Claimed Total Squirrel Population: no official count

Like Olney, Marionville also claim to be the "Home of the White Squirrels". To make this claim more believable, a local legislation has instituted a $500 fine to anyone who would captures and sells these rodents in and outside Marionville. One thing that made Marionville controversial is their claim that the first white squirrels in the other towns that claim to be the original home of the white squirrels were just kidnapped from them. However, authorities from Marionville have never showed any proof of this allegation nor give a clear explanation as to how their white squirrels first get in their place. They just claim that the white squirrels have been in their area since the 1800s.

Town: Brevard, North Carolina
Total land area:
Total human population (as of 2000):
Total claimed squirrel population: no official count

Brevard don't want to do anything with the Albino squirrel squabbles, but local do appreciate the white squirrels with black eyes that live in their area. Interbreeding between these white squirrels and the other local squirrels (grey and black) has also caused mutation to the original white squirrel species. Some of them have grey strips or black caps but are still proud of all their squirrels. Although squirrels in Brevard are not as celebrated as the squirrels in the towns that boasts their white squirrels, in general, squirrels in this place is still "protected" by local laws and policies. They also have a little town festival called the "White Squirrel Festival" to celebrate the presence of these critters in their area.

Town: Exeter, Ontario
Total land area: no data
Total human population (as of 2000): 4500
Total claimed squirrel population: no official count

The craze for the white squirrels has also reach in the border between the United States and Canada. The town has an official white squirrel mascot whose name was chosen through a town-wide competition in 1986. The winning name for the mascot is "White wonder" and an official music video has been recorded with the mascot in it. They also celebrate a white squirrel festival.

Like the white squirrels in Brevard, the white squirrels in Exeter as not albinos too. Their squirrels have black eyes although they have snow-white coverings. People in Exeter also respect squirrels so much that a local legislation has been passed to fine anyone who upsets or annoys a white squirrel; so much more if these squirrels are harmed or killed. In cases when white squirrels are indeed killed because of calamities or because of road accidents, the local government is convicted to disposing of their remains as fast as possible to "protect" the locals and the visitors from the "sad" scenario. To do that, they preserve the remains of the squirrels in ice and send it to funeral homes where they are properly attended.

Now, you might think of all these attention that white squirrels are getting are already ridiculous to some extent, but these are truly happening. So, the next time that you see a white squirrel, consider yourself very lucky.
squirrel extermination