It's not uncommon to see deer out and about this time of year in Indiana. With fall coming quickly coming to an end and the cold winter months approaching, they begin the search for food, a mate, and most importantly, try to avoid being shot by hunters. What is uncommon is the sight of an albino deer, not because they're less active this time of year, but because they're a genetic rarity, which is why when one is seen, we're quick to grab our phones and get a picture like Spencer County resident, John Howell did recently.

Rare Albino Deer Spotted in Spencer County, Indiana

John, a truck driver who starts his workday before the sun comes up, posted the photo below to his Facebook page Thursday morning saying that he had seen the rare creature a few times over the last couple of years, but this was the first time he spotted it after the sun was up. It's hard to tell by the photo, but it appears to be at least a four-point buck.

📸: John Howell
📸: John Howell

Zooming in on the photo caused it to blur quite a bit, but it does give a slightly better look at the animal. Although it kind of makes it look like one of those reindeer yard decorations people put out for Christmas.

John Howell
John Howell
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How Rare are Albino Deer?

Before we get too deep into the rarity of these mesmerizing animals, it's important to note that just because a deer has a white coat doesn't mean it is an albino. According to Protect the White Deer, it's more than just white fur.

These animals are typically identified by their pink nose and eyes–the result of blood vessels showing through the skin and clear lens of the eyes. Light blue eyes can also indicate albinism.

Protect the White Deer goes on to say that both white deer and true albinos get their unique fur color from "different genes that affect different body processes."

Now then, back to the question of how rare they are. Protect the White Deer, citing the book, White Deer: Ghosts of the Forest by Wisconsin Northwoods naturalist John Bates, says they are very rare with Bates noting approximately one in every 20,000 deer is born albino. Protect the White Deer also says some sources estimate that number to be closer to one in 30,000.

It's hard to tell in John's photo if this is a true albino or just a deer that has white fur. Regardless, it's a beautiful creature not seen often in our area, or any area for that matter.

Big thanks to John for letting me share the photo.

[Source: Protect the White Deer]

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