Meet Hitchin Squirrel Rescue's latest albino addition
- Credit: Paul Allum
Married couple Paul and Ania Allum - better known as Hitchin Squirrel Rescue - captured the hearts of Comet readers last year when they shared their story of opening the North Herts-based rescue.
The duo, who had four squirrels in their care when they set up the rescue in 2019, now have a growing brood of squirrels that would have very little chance of survival if they were left in the wild.
One of their newest additions, a rare albino squirrel aptly named Ice, has caught the eye of the rescue's adoring supporters and fans, thanks to her unique colouring.
"The black squirrels are obviously known in Letchworth and what have you, but the albinos are a generally a lot more Sussex way," Paul explained.
"White squirrels are white because of a mutation. They're all classed as an invasive species, but having an albino in the Hertfordshire is sort of rare."
The rescue, which generally only covers North Hertfordshire, travelled all the way to Crawley to save Ice.
"She was wondering around someone's garden - they monitored her for three days. She wouldn't have survived out in the wild.
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"Being an albino, they suffer with poor eyesight anyway, because of the genes and the mutation."
Ice came to Paul and Ania at around six or seven weeks old in April, and has flourished in her new habitat.
"She was certainly underweight, she was certainly undernourished - that's why the lady phoned us. She didn't know if it was the right care she was giving. So we took her on board and are now giving her the best life she can have!"
Ice shares her new home with black squirrel Kelly, who is neurological and partially blind, Faith, a grey squirrel who was hit by a car in Ashwell and Beau who has malocclusion, which meant he had to have his teeth removed.
"She's coming along nicely. She's a typical white squirrel; she's shy, but she's coming out in herself now more," Paul added.
Hitchin Squirrel Rescue has made quite a name for itself, and has amassed more than 2,000 followers on Facebook. People came from far and wide to support them at their latest event at Hitchin Market.
And, thanks to this ongoing support, the rescue is going from strength to strength:
"All of our garden is taken up now with enclosures!" Paul joked.
"We're just growing and growing!"
For more information about the work that Hitchin Squirrel Rescue do, visit hitchinsquirrelrescue.co.uk.