How the albino squirrel might keep the good luck coming


Thomas Allison

A squirrel pauses while drinking from a sprinkler head outside the SAC.

Olivia Berkeley

Roughly a year ago, UT’s beloved albino squirrel was rumored to be deceased. A tweet from @FakeUTexas made waves throughout the Twitterverse, prompting many to mourn the loss of the campus’ most beloved good luck charm and, of course, their high GPAs.

As photographic evidence started popping up on social media sites of UT’s furry friend, it became clear that he (or she) had not passed away — or so we think. While there are many possible reasons for why this campus’ albino squirrel, which is actually just a blonde variation of the traditional brown fox squirrel, according to UT biologist David Hillis, is such a well preserved phenomenon, my top three theories are as follows:

Perhaps there is a family of squirrels that act as interchangeable parts, working different shifts during the week in order to preserve their photogenic properties and sanity. If the famed squirrel did, in fact, get run over last year, there were undoubtedly alternates waiting in the wings to take its place. Accidents happen. Luckily, there are willing and able blonde-haired squirrels champing at the acorn to take over the role of good luck charm to students.

It is also possible that these rodents are getting help from their mammalian friend — the human. UT boasts an impressive array of life science programs and research opportunities, and it would come as no surprise if students and professors were figuring out new ways to replicate these signature white squirrels. Humans and squirrels share a special relationship on the UT campus, so why should the partnership cease as soon as we enter the classroom?

I wouldn’t put it past these guys to be smart enough to acknowledge their importance in the lives of UT students. Therefore, when squirrel-related conversation begins to decline, drastic PR efforts must be taken. Nothing reminds the public of how much they love something more than a good old-fashioned death-faking. By partnering up with @FakeUTexas to release a doctored image of a run-over squirrel, the squirrel community successfully restored its relevance within the UT community.

Whichever theory you choose to entertain — or discard — there is no disputing the joy these squirrels bring to UT students. Whether they are playfully begging for your Chik-Fil-A fries or scampering up a tree, squirrels are a delightful quirk present on the UT campus, and one I certainly hope continues to exist for many generations to come. Even though I have never been fortunate enough to see one of these white-haired little guys in person, I still remain optimistic that I will before I graduate. Squirrels, if you’re reading this, I spend a lot of time near the CLA, as well as the Six Pack. Maybe we can hang out some time soon.

Berkeley is a Plan II and public relations sophomore from Austin.