Albino raccoon spotted in Riverside
November 03, 2008 at 08:40 PM
BY JANICE HOPPE
RIVERSIDE—With ghostly white fur and gripping claws, an elusive creature creeping through trees has piqued the interest of a Riverside neighborhood.
Melinda Lehman and Jim Cybul, Lionel Road residents, live on the block where rumors were circulating about a strange, ghostly animal. No one had any clear idea of what it was. They said neighbors had spotted this thing, but no one ever got a good look at it.
“About a month ago, we began hearing about a white creature,” Lehman said. “It became an urban legend—it was seen in the neighbor’s lawn and trees and someone saw it in their back yard.”
Someone said it was not a raccoon or a badger, but it looked familiar, like a fuzzy cat.
”(One neighbor) drew a conclusion that wild cats were mating with opossums and this was now the result,” Cybul said. “Of course, we all laughed hysterically at this.”
On Oct. 23, Cybul was barbecuing in his back yard when he saw something walk down the driveway. It was clearly a raccoon, but it was white.
“We have proof of what it is and researched it,” Cybul said. “Albino raccoons do appear physically different as opposed to the average raccoon.”
Scott Garrow, wildlife biologist for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, said it is an unusual animal, but albino mammals do exist.
“It is genetic. The genes for albinism will show up; it is like a recessive gene that normally doesn’t occur,” he said.
Normally, albino animals are not seen in the wild because they don’t survive, according to Garrow.
“It is not something that will persist,” he said. ”(We) won’t see a cluster of raccoons, and it will probably die out.”
Jan 31, 2007 Morgantown WV
Rare white raccoon captured downtown: Albino, sibling found near Pleasant Street released to woods.
Byline: J. Miles Layton
Jan. 31--An albino raccoon was captured foraging for food this week outside an apartment building on Pleasant Street in Morgantown. The critter is white, has pink eyes with a slightly yellow hue, weighs 7 or 8 pounds, and is about a foot long.
The black mask usually found around a raccoon's eyes was a deeper shade of white. Mike Gray, a professional trapper with 30 years of experience, caught the creature and one of its regularly colored siblings by using marshmallows as bait to bring them inside a cage trap.