Albino squirrel on road to recoveryBy Stephen Lloyd
September 27, 2011
MIRROR, mirror on the wall who is the fairest of them all?
Clearly this rare albino squirrel is quite sure she is now, but it was a different story when she was admitted bruised and battered to HART (Hampshire Animal Rescue Team) wildlife hospital a few weeks ago.
Sadly, she had been beaten up by a couple of her grey cousins and arrived at the hospital in a poor condition with blood coming from her nose.
It is not unusual for wild animals to attack their own kind for being different or weak and as albinos often do not see too well they can be vulnerable.
But a few days of antibiotics and painkillers, plus plenty of care from the wildlife experts, has put a sparkle back into those pink eyes.
“We put a mirror into her cage so we could keep an eye on her and she loves looking at herself in it,” said Caragh Hunter, senior clinical assistant.
“I’m sure she is asking ‘who is the fairest of them all?’ like in the fairy tale so we nicknamed her Snow White.”
True albinos are quite rare with only one in 100,000.
This means, with a grey squirrel population of around 2.5 million, only 25 are likely to be alive at any time.
As it would not be safe to release Snow White back into the wild she will be staying at the hospital until a sanctuary can be found to take care of her for the rest of her life.
HART wildlife hospital has cared for thousands of sick, injured and abandoned animals across the News & Mail area.
The only care centre of its kind in the county, HART provides a rescue, treatment and rehabilitation service for animals throughout Hampshire, as well as offering advice to vets, the RSPCA and the public.
The hospital deals with more than one thousand animals every year and is run entirely from donations.
The centre finally moved into a new home at Soldridge Farm in Medstead, near Alton, last summer.
The charity had been run for 14 years by June and Bob Gibbs from their semi-detached house and garden in Overton, near Basingstoke.
In the past they had shared their home with around 10,000 wild animals and birds, several staff and a stream of willing volunteers.
Donations to help with the running costs of the new hospital are welcome and volunteers are always needed.
For more details visit www.hartwildlife.org.uk.