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- White Squirrels
The legend goes that Brevard’s white squirrels originated from a carnival animal truck. According to Brevard resident Mrs. W.E. Mull, a pair of white squirrels was given to her brother-in-law, H.H. Mull, by Mr. Black of Madison, Florida, in 1949. A carnival truck had overturned near Black’s home and the squirrels were caught by Mr. Black when he observed them playing in his pecan grove.
Mull gave the critters to his niece, Barbara, who unsuccessfully tried to breed them. In 1951 she married and left home. Eventually, one of the white squirrels escaped and Mr. Mull soon let the other one go. Before long, the squirrels began breeding in the wild and appeared in several areas of town.
The white squirrels became so prized that the Brevard City Council voted in 1986 to approve an ordinance declaring and establishing a sanctuary for squirrels, especially the white ones, stating that it “shall be unlawful for any person to hunt, kill, trap, or otherwise take any protected squirrels within the city by this section.”
Biologists recognize no known species of all-white squirrels in the world. The Brevard white squirrels, with dark eyes and sometimes gray streaked fur, are not albinos but a white variant of the eastern gray squirrel, and make up almost a third of Brevard's squirrel population.
In addition to Brevard, white squirrels have been spotted in Olney, IL; Versailles, IL; Hodgenville, KY; Marionville, MO; Trenton, NJ; Bloomfield, NY; Greenwood, SC; and Kenton, TN. But only Brevard holds an annual festival in their honor!
Excerpts from The Transylvania Times.