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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 May, 2003, 16:30 GMT 17:30 UK
White squirrel dazzles animal lovers
The albino squirrel
Persil is five inches long and weighs just over 2 oz (60g)
A rare albino squirrel is recuperating at a wildlife centre after falling out of his tree in south-east London.

The odds against an all-white squirrel being born are 100,000 to one and he may never have been discovered if a football had not hit his tree.

But a passer-by picked him up in Carlton Grove, Peckham, and took him to the London Wildcare Centre in Wallington, Surrey, where staff have named him Persil.

Now the five-week-old squirrel is licking his wounds and resting with his grey brother.

Although his colour is attracting admiring glances at the centre, it would make Persil easy pickings for predators and it is thought he would not have survived long in the wild.

Staff at the centre hope he will now live for up to eight years.

Director Ted Burden said: "Persil is a very happy chap.

"When he arrived he was a bit dazed and had a bloody nose but now he is running around his cage with his brother.

"He is still in our intensive care ward because he needs hand-feeding until he can feed himself."

The London Wildcare Centre looks after any wild animal from mice to deer and receives about 180 squirrels a year.

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