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Rare albino squirrel spotted by photographer in Ramsgate park

By Thanet Times  |  Posted: April 24, 2012

  • WHITE LIGHTNING: The rare albino squirrel springs across a Ramsgate park

  • SAY CHEESE: Thanet's albino squirrel poses briefly for the camera in the park behind St Lawrence Avenue.

  • HAPPY SNAPPERS: Eric and Mary Bartholomew have photographed many animals on their travels

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AUTHOR Eric C Bartholomew has photographed lots of animals – elephants, tigers, wild boar – but none were as tricky to capture as Thanet's albino squirrel.

The 67-year-old scribbler, of St Lawrence Chase, Ramsgate, spotted the white wonder in a park close to Ramsgate's Royal Esplanade on Monday, April 16.

Wildlife experts estimate that the odds of a pure white squirrel being born are one in 100,000.

Mr Bartholomew, a safari lover, chased the rare rodent around the park for 20 minutes before he got his shot at about 7am.

He said: "I was in the right place at the right time. It's not often you see them. You have to take your time. I had to hide behind a tree."

Mr Bartholomew's wife Mary added: "If someone had come around the corner they would seen him standing there and thought he was a stalker."

The couple, who have visited animal sanctuaries all over the world, often walk in the park behind St Lawrence Avenue.

Albino squirrels are distinguished from normal white squirrels by their pink eyes.

While white squirrels are rare, reports suggest they live together in colonies and from a colony can spring an albino squirrel. Thanet wildlife expert Dr Alasdair Bruce said a small group of them have been reported in Thanet Crematorium, in Margate.

He said: "Two or three have been seen hopping around.

"There seems to be a little pool of these white squirrels that pop out of the gene pool."

Dr Bruce said white squirrels do not survive long, as their colour make them an easy target for predators.

Have you snapped any rare or strange-looking animals on the isle? Send your snaps into the newsroom at newsdesk.thanet@KRNmedia.co.uk

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