Several famous animals have existed over the years. Pets that belonged to former presidents and Punxsutawney Phil are both examples of animals that enjoy a notoriety that they, of course, cannot perceive. In addition to the very few animals that have become well known nationally, the popularity of some individual animals does not extend beyond local areas. For example, one particular albino squirrel that was given the moniker “Snowpea” was popular among students, faculty and the surrounding residents at the University of Texas in Austin. Several factors have allowed albino squirrels, which are quite rare, to proliferate in larger than normal numbers on the UT campus. Snowpea became a representative of these albino squirrels after it had been spotted on the campus numerous times over the course of several years. Sadly, Snowpea recently died, but its memory will live on in the many offspring that she has birthed over the years.
Last week, Snowpea was found dead at the Gates Dell Complex in Austin. The squirrel’s popularity and the well-established presence of her many albino offspring on the campus, have been documented for the past several years on University of Texas’ Facebook and Instagram pages. The many pictures on these sites feature Snowpea as well as many other albino squirrels that call the UT campus home. The sites also document the different behaviors exhibited by the albino squirrels.
Marie Romano, creator of the page, and a 2016 University of Texas graduate, claimed that Snowpea most likely died as a result of falling from a tree. Romano was apparently looking for Snowpea before she found the squirrel lying motionless on the ground. Romano created the webpages while she was attending the University, and her Facebook page has gathered 4,342 followers. Her efforts to document the albino squirrel population on the campus has been praised and supported by students and faculty members alike. Experts say that most fox squirrels in Texas possess a reddish-brown color, but Carin Peterson, outreach coordinator for Environmental Health and Safety, says that albino squirrels are overabundant on the UT campus due to a lack of natural predators in the area. However, this is not a problem for the students and faculty members that routinely feed the albino squirrels, and they are reportedly sweet and gentle in demeanor.
Do you think that feeding the albino squirrels is harmless in the long run?