Remember UT’s albino squirrels on this #SquirrelAppreciationDay

If you’ve gotten anywhere near Twitter on Thursday, you’ve seen that it’s #SquirrelAppreciationDay, according to the shadowy cabal that determines such Internet-only holidays. (According to Animal Planet, the day is said to have been started way back in 2001 by wildlife rehabilitator Christy Hargrove of the Western North Carolina Nature Center.)

A true albino squirrel (unlike this blond one) will have red eyes. (Photo by Carolyn Lindell)

A true albino squirrel (unlike this blond one) will have red eyes. (Photo by Carolyn Lindell)

We can think of no better way to observe this most auspicious of days than by honoring Austin’s own bushy-tailed icon, the “albino” squirrel. According to a 2014 American-Statesman report (as well as the common knowledge of any local college student), the pale rodents have been spoken of as legends at the University of Texas for quite some time, “considered good luck charms for stressed students.”

“The legend on campus was that if you saw the albino squirrel on the way to a test that you would get an A on your test,” said Tim Taliaferro, editor-in-chief of Alcalde, the alumni magazine. (While Taliaferro acknowledges that the adored squirrels are not truly albino, many at UT still refer to them that way.)

That’s right: Some squirrels lacking pigment do exist in nature, but the rodents seen around Central Austin are more likely just blond.

As anyone on the Forty Acres can tell you, trying to scope one of the critters is a must-do before a big exam. That is, if you can find one.

Taliaferro said these squirrels have regular places on campus where they like to hang out, including by the Harry Ransom Center and the East Mall.

“Our understanding is that there are little families of them,” he said.

Before you go out looking for your own streak of fair-colored fortune, prep your defense against the animals’ agility by watching this squirrel course.

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