Oh sure, that Pennsylvania rodent, noted weather prognosticator Punxsutawney Phil may get all the national publicity on February 2nd, after all it is Groundhog Day, but we all know who to REALLY pay attention to. “Pisgah Pete,” Brevard, North Carolina’s official white squirrel ambassador, had predicted the remaining length of winter and football games since 2015. However, according to The Transylvania Times, in 2022, “that most famous member of the white squirrels species unique to Brevard announced his early retirement due to age.”
Before stepping aside, though Pete handed over the reins of his duties for “White Squirrel Day” to his, ahem, “niece,” Penelope Ella Catherine Elizabeth, now known as “Pisgah Penny.” Well, today was Penny’s time to shine and here’s what we know.
Pisgah Penny predicted 6 more weeks of winter and that the Eagles would stomp the Chiefs in the upcoming Super Bowl. Apparently, Penny and “Phil” must have eaten the same breakfast this morning as the rodent from Gobbler’s Knob in the Quaker State predicted an extended winter as well.
If you were wondering about our white squirrels, according to the white squirrel institute, Our most Frequently Asked Question is what is a white squirrel? 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. 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 (Count Dracula). They have dark eyes and there is some evidence that this pattern is inherited.