albino sqThis Saturday marks another Squirrel Appreciation Day! In the town of Olney lies a truly unique colony of albino squirrels. Every year volunteers gather to scavenge the town to get an official tally of how many albino squirrels are left.

Roughly 100 years ago there was an estimate of 800, however with the territorial grey squirrels coming into the parks over the years, the numbers have decreased significantly. The 2022 count noted 886 gray squirrels counted and 64 albino white squirrels. Based on the numbers, the gray to albino ratio in 2021 was 12.46 to 1 compared to the gray to albino ratio in 2022 of 14.38 to 1.

The white squirrels are extremely important to the residents in Olney, and are even protected by law and have the right of way on all streets – which is signified by squirrel crossing signs posted around town. The city encourages residents to set up feeding boxes, and even offers free corn to refill those boxes annually.

Since the 1980s, this volunteer-based squirrel count is held each fall. Both white and gray squirrels are counted as well as stray cats, a natural enemy of the squirrels. Making sure to get all their acorns in a row, the Olney community has made it known that they are working on reviving the albino squirrel colonies in town and ask every resident to pitch in to ensure the continuation of their furry friends.