AUSTIN (KXAN) — If we had a big test today, we would ace it. Or at least, that’s how the University of Texas at Austin legend goes.

As a KXAN crew was filming near north campus, they saw a white squirrel — which is a thing of legends around these parts. As TV news crews do, they whipped out their cameras and started shooting.

The university cited UT biologist David Hillis on its “The Legend of the Albino Squirrel” page, saying the squirrels on campus aren’t really albino but are likely to be one of a few white fox squirrels.

“It’s a color variant, not a true albino,” said Hillis on the UT website. “Albinism is a genetic anomaly in which an animal has a total or partial lack of pigment. It’s much more rare—occurring in one in 100,000 squirrels. Albino squirrels have red eyes, while white squirrels have brown eyes.”

Texas Parks and Wildlife confirmed that with KXAN Wednesday adding that white squirrels are “uncommon, but not rare.” A spokesperson said they hear about or get photos of white squirrels in Texas roughly “once every year or two.”

Still, UT legend has it that if you see an “albino” squirrel on a test day you’ll ace it. Students report not studying for a test, seeing a white squirrel and magically doing well. It’s a legend that’s dated back years.

  • White squirrel in a tree
  • White squirrel runs across the street

There’s a Facebook page dedicated to documenting the squirrels of UT. The Squirrels of UT page has recently posted about a white squirrel named Elle. It’s not clear if it’s the same squirrel.

“She’s the luckiest gal on the block. Her glossy blonde fur and little pink nose make her a hit with students and visitors alike,” they posted after a spotting late last year.

In 2018, students at UT mourned the loss of one of those bright white squirrels that can be spotted on campus named Snowpea.

‘Splooting’ squirrels

White or not, if you’ve recently seen squirrels laying belly down, with arms and legs splayed to the side, you’re not alone. It’s a seasonal squirrel position called “splooting” that helps the critters cool off on a scorching day.

“They are basically getting as much of their body on a cooler surface. If it’s cooler than the air outside, they’re going to put their body on it, and it’s going to cool their temperature,” Jill Calcote, of Moonshine Wildlife Rehabilitation in Cedar Park, told KXAN previously.

For more details on how you can help “splooting” squirrels, check out KXAN’s story from last year.