A WOMAN who documents white squirrel sightings claims there are many more in the UK than scientists think.
Claire Brimacombe from Pevensey first saw a white squirrel in Alfriston last year.
“I was walking and I saw this weird white thing run in front of me,” she said.
“I thought ‘What the hell is that?’ and started Googling.
“I started to realise people absolutely love white squirrels.
“No one was documenting them in the UK, so I set up a Facebook page and I started doing it myself.”
After spending months logging sightings of the animal across the country, the 44-year-old has evidence of more than 100 white squirrel sightings in the UK.
This is much higher than the 30 that scientists expect.
“Grey squirrels have a 100,000 to one chance they will be born white,” said community safety analyst Ms Brimacombe.
“There are about three million grey squirrels in the UK, so there should be about 30 in the country.
“But I’ve got more than 100 sightings.
“Either the scientists have got their ratio wrong or something extremely rare is happening here.”
Ms Brimacombe insisted her research is accurate as the sightings are in different areas of the UK.
“A lot of the time people send me the same sighting,” she said.
“There are plenty in Eastbourne that always get sent to me.”
But as a nature lover, the work comes naturally to her.
“Sometimes I’ll get a sighting while I’m working and I’ll get invested in it,” she said.
“A lot of the time at home I have to drag my poor husband out to look at squirrels.
“He doesn’t mind it too much. They’re striking but they’re very shy.”
Now Ms Brimacombe hopes to partner with scientists to see if white squirrels really are as common as she thinks they are.
She said: “I’ve got in touch with universities in Brighton to see if they want to a study on it.
“I could see a student doing it for their dissertation. I think the results could be really interesting.”
While no albino squirrels have been spotted in the Brighton, some have been spotted as close as Seaford, Burgess Hill, and Balcombe.
Sightings have been recorded in America by the Untamed Science group.
According to Ms Brimacombe, white squirrels are seen as symbol of good luck by students taking exams. “I’ve seen videos of people hunting for them before they take a test,” she said.
News from The Argus