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Have you ever seen a white squirrel?

(Provided Photo/Carolyn Rusk)

OLNEY, Ill. (WISH) — Olney, Illinois. The home of my in-laws, and the home of the white squirrels!

This past weekend, my family and I went back home to this small southern Illinois town.

Human population? About 9,000. White squirrel population? (At last count) about 70.

If you’re wondering, yes, these squirrels are ALL white. They’re Bushy-tailed Albino Eastern Grey Squirrels. And if you happen to see one, it’s a bit of a treat!

In fact, many visitors come to Olney just for the purpose of seeing and photographing a white

Now, yes, I have seen them before over the years, but now that I have little ones of my own, they’re fascinated. And I must say, the grownup kids (my husband and I, along with some friends of ours) are still, too.

We tried so hard to snap a picture this weekend, but failed in our attempt.

Luckily though, my mother and father-in-law had a few to share.

From what I’ve learned, these white squirrels are a pretty rare circumstance. According to, the albino gene is recessive, so for one or more of a squirrel litter to be white, both grey squirrel parents must carry it.

As to how these white critters came to be in Olney? Well, those legends are up for debate. The locals will likely tell you a few stories of how they came to be. Which story is the real one is anyone’s guess.

They’re just glad they stuck around.

So if you’re interested in seeing the little guys for yourself, come on down and take a trip to Olney, IL. Locals say your best chance to see them is early in the morning. As for where to watch for them? You can head over to Olney City Park on Route 130, Millers Grove on the south side of East Fork Lake and of course, visit neighborhoods with mature trees and feeding stations.

Or just come to my in-laws’ house.

Wait patiently enough, and you’ll see one roaming around in their backyard.

And if you get tired of waiting, no worries.

Just do what they did.

Paint your brown ceramic yard squirrel white, and you’ll get to see it ALL year long.