White-tailed squirrels spotted in Iowa

Ag/Outdoor, News

November 20th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Rare creatures were spotted in two regions of Iowa in recent months. White-tailed squirrels have been seen near the Minnesota border in the town of Osage, and now in central Iowa in Des Moines. Vince Evilsizer, a biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says they’re not albino squirrels, as only the tail is white.  “If it was albino, it would likely be all white,” Evilsizer says. “Genetically, it’s probably a recessive trait just expressing a different color pattern. It’s pretty interesting and it must just be a recessive gene that’s showing up.”

Witnesses say the squirrels’ bodies are the typical brown while their bushy tails are pure, snowy white. “I am not sure what’s causing it to show up right now,” Evilsizer says. “I would guess it’s not weather but I’m not sure. I would guess something that emerged in maybe one or a few squirrels. It may stick around and become more prevalent or may kind of melt away again.” Evilsizer says he has never seen a white-tail squirrel, and anyone who does, should consider themselves lucky.

(Radio Iowa)