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Ask SAM: Are there white squirrels in Walkertown?
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Ask SAM: Are there white squirrels in Walkertown?

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Q: Is there a white squirrel population in Walkertown? On two occasions while driving through Walkertown, I have spotted what appear to be white squirrels.

C.F.

Answer: It’s certainly possible. According to information from the White Squirrel Institute in Brevard, at one time Walkertown had a white squirrel population large enough to be included in the institute’s documentation. Brevard has one of the largest white squirrel populations in the country and has a festival to celebrate them.

The White Squirrel Institute was founded in 1997 by Robert Glesener, a longtime biology, zoology, ecology professor at Brevard College.

According to the institute, “The white squirrels found in Brevard, NC, are a color variant of one of our native species of the Eastern Gray Squirrel.

“The Brevard white squirrels are leucistic, which is a condition characterized by reduced pigmentation in animals caused by a recessive allele (gene).

“Our white squirrels are unique because their coats are mostly white but there is a distinctive head patch and dorsal stripe that broadens in the shoulder region. The head patch can be solid, horseshoe or doughnut shaped; it may resemble a triangle, a diamond, deer tracks or even a widow’s peak. They have dark eyes and there is some evidence that this pattern is inherited.”

Turkish jeweler Mehmet Yuksel found the best place to squirrel away his earnings. His cash register is guarded by a staunch, lion-hearted squirrel named 'Memocan'.

White squirrels and gray squirrels can come from the same litter.

Katy Rosenberg, the director of the institute said, “We are receiving many more sightings of the leucistic white squirrels in North Carolina outside of Brevard. It seems the population is expanding around North Carolina and the USA based on people submitting photos and sending emails.”

Back to Walkertown. Scott Snow, Walkertown’s town manager said, “I’ve been here 13 years and never seen one, but then I haven’t looked for one.”

Snow asked Rusty Sawyer, the town clerk and native of Walkertown, who likewise was not aware of white squirrels in Walkertown.

So, there is a possibility there are white squirrels scurrying around Walkertown.

Christina Howell, a spokeswoman for the Forsyth County Department of Animal Services, said, “Squirrels with color mutations typically do not survive long in the wild due to their inability to camouflage themselves from predators.”

For more information about white squirrels, go to whitesquirrelinstitute.org/.

Q: I keep seeing Peacock listed as a TV station for viewing sports on your On the Air Guide. What TV station number is that so that we can access it?

C.B.

Answer: Peacock is the internet streaming service for NBCUniversal. It is similar to Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and Apple TV. Peacock isn’t the only streaming service listed in the On the Air guide. ESPN+, Amazon and YouTube TV are also listed.

If you don’t have a smart TV, you’ll need a media streaming device such as a Roku Stick or Amazon Fire Stick to be able to view the service. Your TV also must have a HDMI port to plug in the device. You can also view streaming services on tablets, computers and smart phones.

Most streaming services have different packages. Peacock offers a free package, a Premium level for $4.99 per month. It includes sports, live events, and original series. The top package is Premium Plus for $9.99 per month which includes advertisement free viewing.

For more information about programming on Peacock or to subscribe, go to Peacocktv.com.

Email: AskSAM@wsjournal.com

Online: journalnow.com/asksam

Write: Ask SAM, 418 N. Marshall St., Winston-Salem, NC 27101

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