Photo courtesy of James Greenebaum
Campus’ popular albino squirrel “Whitey” lies dead under the claws of a hawk on the South Oval Friday. In the past three days, more than 580 students have joined the Facebook group mourning the squirrel’s death.

Dozens of students gathered around the lifeless body of Ohio State’s famous albino squirrel, known as “Whitey,” minutes after the campus celebrity was killed by a hawk on the South Oval.

Whitey’s life was cut short at around 2 p.m. Friday when a hawk spotted his white fur coat from above and flew in for the kill. Several students walking through the South Oval witnessed the aftermath of the attack, the proud hawk looming over its prey.

Lindsey Conti, a freshman who is undecided, saw the hawk in the middle of the South Oval and walked closer to investigate.

“I got closer and said ‘Oh my gosh it caught something,’ and I thought it might have been a rabbit, but then Tim looked and said ‘Oh my god, its the albino squirrel,'” Conti said.

Conti and her friends Tim Hoock, a freshman in business administration, and James Greenebaum, a freshman in biology, documented the tragedy with their camera phones while a crowd of 30 to 40 people quickly formed around the bird to witness Whitey’s fate.

After about five minutes, the hawk flew away with its talons fastened to the squirrel’s lifeless body. The hawk made it as far as the other side of the South Oval when Whitey’s weight forced the predator to land. In some nearby shrubbery the hawk sampled his prey before flying away.

“It was basically flattened by the hawk and it looked like a stuffed animal,” Greenebaum said. “It (the hawk) had blood and guts all hanging out of its mouth.”

Shock and anger filled the South Oval.

“Once it flew away everyone just started saying how mad they were. They were mad it was dead because it’s a south campus legend,” Hoock said.

Since the death of Whitey, a Facebook group titled, “In Memory of Whitey the Albino Squirrel,” has been created to commemorate the life and death of the beloved south campus celebrity. Currently, 599 students have joined the group and posted more than 50 comments.

Sean Minogue can be reached at