A RARE albino squirrel has been spotted scurrying up a tree in the South Downs.

A rambler was shocked when he spotted the animal in Friston Forest in the South Downs National Park.

The confident critter happily posed for photos before shooting off up a tree and out of sight.

The photographer said: “While wandering in the woods, I spotted a large white thing ahead. Thinking it was a mushroom I went closer.

“This is when I realised it was not a mushroom but a rare albino squirrel. The squirrel was quite happy to have his photo taken and stayed around for ten good minutes. A nice way to clear your head and end the day.”


While there are an estimated 2.5 million grey squirrels in the UK, there are thought to be as few as 50 albinos.

Claire Brimacombe, an analyst and researcher from Pevensey, has been recording sightings of these unusual rodents since November 2018.

She set up the website White Squirrels Of Sussex to log the sightings she receives from people in Sussex and the surrounding areas.

The 44-year-old has created a map to show the locations of albino squirrel sightings and her research suggest there are more than scientists estimate.

The Argus: Claire Brimacombe records white squirrel sightings.Claire Brimacombe records white squirrel sightings.

She said: “Albino squirrel sightings are not as rare as people think. I have over 200 separate sightings recorded now. I get sent sightings every week from all over the UK now, but there are high numbers popping up in Sussex all the time.”

“It became evident that there was a fascination and adoration for white and albino squirrels. Many people tell me that they didn’t know there was such a thing and how magical it is to see one.”

Albinism, a congenital condition caused by a reduction in melanin, gives these cute creatures their distinctive white coats and red eyes.

The majority of white squirrels in the UK are thought to be white versions of the eastern grey squirrel, meaning there is estimated one in 100,000 chance of an albino being born.

While no albino squirrels have been spotted in Brighton, there have been sightings in Burgess Hill, Balcombe and Seaford.

If you are lucky enough to spot an albino squirrel, you can report the sighting and contribute to Claire Brimacombe’s research here.