Black squirrels make big bucks

Meranda Watling

Canadian man wins lottery thanks to lucky charms

Ric Wallace London, Ontario Canada takes pictures of Kent’s famous black squirrels on campus by Taylor Hall last Thursday.

Credit: Beth Rankin

Black squirrels might drive Kent State students crazy.

But Ric Wallace, of London, Ontario Canada, is crazy about black squirrels, or any squirrels for that matter — black, white, gray it doesn’t matter, he likes them all.

“A lot of people know me as the ‘squirrel guy,’” Wallace said. “It helps me stand out from the crowd.”

The self-proclaimed “squirrel guy” made the five-hour trip to Kent last week to photograph the black squirrel descendents of London’s own population. He also shot some footage for his upcoming music video for a song he recorded about, what else, black squirrels.

What he found here during his first trip to Kent was that although the squirrels look the same — “If I was to take a black squirrel from London and Kent and set the pictures side by side you probably wouldn’t be able to tell the difference” — they have a different temperament.

“We found that the squirrels on campus near the fashion museum aren’t as friendly as the ones in London,” he said. “In London, Ontario, the squirrels will actually come up to you.”

His interest in squirrels started when a friend told him about white squirrels in Exeter, Ontario. Having never heard of white squirrels, he and his wife set out to see if they were real or if his friend was joking.

“We went and took some photos (of white squirrels),” Wallace said. “I told my wife, ‘If we don’t find any, don’t tell him we went looking.’”

But he did find white squirrels, and a new interest.

Wallace, who works as a Web designer and photographer, decided to take his pictures and make magnets featuring the white squirrels and then sell them at a store in Exeter. Later, a Web site,, and other souvenirs would follow. But it was the magnets that really helped it take off.

In 2002, Wallace won a small lottery. He attributes the win to the white squirrel magnets he used to hold his ticket. After another lottery win and a winning trip to a casino while wearing a white squirrel pin, he devised a plan.

“I figured there was something to this squirrel thing,” he said.

After several small wins, he gave himself a two-year deadline to win a big one. He registered on May 30, 2002.

Again, he won several small lotteries with his lucky squirrel pins and magnets. He added black squirrel charms to his mix and a new Web site,, but he still missed his two-year mark.

He didn’t hit it big until May 31, 2004, — one day late — but as Wallace points out, right on time if you factor in the leap year.

“If someone asks me ‘Which ones are luckier, the white or the black squirrels?’ Well, I attribute the big win to the black squirrels, “Wallace said.

The big win he speaks of was a dream home worth over three-quarters of a million Canadian dollars.

Since the big win he’s been busy, and more Web sites have followed — including, a site for people who share Wallace’s interest in squirrels, and, a site to help others win big — and his song, “The Black Squirrels Of London,” which can be downloaded from the Web site. He plans to release the music video he was working on while in Kent sometime this fall.

While in Kent last week, he was able to see the city and surrounding areas.

“You guys (Kent State) are really promoting and loving your squirrels,” he said. “I’d love to see London do the same thing.”

Contact managing editor Meranda Watling at [email protected].