Sound Off: How common are albino squirrels in Lawrence?
Albino squirrels and partially albino squirrels are much more common in Lawrence than they would be outside of the city.
Kansas University professor of ecology Robert Timm explained the reason in terms of natural selection.
In the wild, albino squirrels stick out, making them easy prey for hawks and other predators. However in the city not as many predators exist, allowing the albinos to survive. Timm said being an albino sometimes actually helps the squirrels.
“Because this is a different squirrel people put out extra food for it,” he said. “Most of our squirrel mortality is over winter.”
These albino squirrels survive the winter at a higher rate and reproduce, creating more albino squirrels.