Albino Deer

Facts about Albino Deer

There are people who are avid hunters with the ultimate goal of capturing the largest prize buck; it is the truly lucky person, however, that spots the real prize, an albino deer.  Occurring approximately once in every 30, 000 births, it is indeed a visual gift that few are privileged to receive. 

Albinism is a condition that exhibits a total lack of melanin pigmentation in the body.  It is a rare condition, but one that affects all vertebrate creatures.  It is always an inherited condition; one that involves recessive genes passed to an individual most commonly by both parents but, in uncommon instances, from only one parent.  When it does occur, it is displayed in humans and animals alike with extremely pale skin, hair and eye coloring.  In humans, the eyes are usually the palest of blue.  The eyes of animals, such as an albino deer, may appear red because there is insufficient color to block the visibility of blood vessels lying behind the eyes.

In many cultures, the vision of an albino animal is one that has been regarded as lucky, and signaled a positive change in the earth or in the community.  The color white has always been thought of as a sign of purity and cleanliness, which has likely developed the reverence held by most that have seen one of these amazing animals.  Reports of sightings of albino deer are continually circulating, creating great fervor among hunters and animal enthusiasts.  So much fervor, in fact, that legal restriction had to be placed upon these animals to ensure their safety.  In many states, it is illegal to hunt or shoot the albino, with stiff fines imposed upon the offenders as well as the potential loss of hunting privileges for a specific amount of time.

For this reason, it is important to know and be able to identify the difference between a deer that is simply white in color and one that is an albino.  Simply possessing white coloration does not make an animal albino.  The best and truest test of recognizing an albino is by the appearance of the eyes.  In an animal that carries white coat coloration, the eyes will be dark.  In contrast, a deer with a snowy white coat and pinkish eyes carries the recessive gene that marks it as an albino.  

The albino deer, despite their lack of coloration, are in every other manner the same as every other deer.  Their health is not compromised by the recessive gene; however, their survival is.  Because of the fascination that the rare animal creates among the human population, the zeal to capture the animal as either a live specimen or as a trophy is great.  In remote areas, the opportunity for these deer to reach adulthood is slim; affected by the kill ratio that goes undetected by officials.   In more populated areas, the albino has a better chance of survival.   One feature that is affected by the albinism is in the eyes; poor eyesight is a common failing among any albino creature.  This is due to the lack of melanin, a condition that can also have a domino effect leading to various other ocular difficulties such as nystagamus or strabismus.   Evidenced by the eyes jumping in every direction or in the eyes turning inward or outwards, either of these conditions can cause serious issues for an animal.  Adding to these issues is the fact that eyes lacking pigmentation are much more sensitive to the light.

Nature in of itself is amazing.  When aberrations of nature occur, some of these can be even more amazing.  Albino deer are just such a prize; beautiful and rare to behold, a true gift of nature.

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