All About Albino White-tailed Deer

All About Albino White-tailed Deer

Albino deer. Every deer hunter has heard of one or at least thought about seeing one, but what’s the deal with albino white-tailed deer? Among the questions most often asked is “what causes some whitetail deer to be albinos?” Well, although albino deer a rare for the most part, albinism is not.

Albinism is a recessive trait found in many animals including mammals, birds, reptiles, fish and even plants! Albino animals do not have the gene for normal coloration and do not produce the enzyme responsible for skin, hair, and tissue coloration. The result of this genetic oddity is the total absence of body pigment.

In addition to the lack of body pigment, the eyes of an albino are pink because blood vessels behind the lenses show through the unpigmented irises. As you can guess, albinism is not a great trait for an animal, either predator or prey, unless they live in area with constant snow cover.

Obviously, being totally white year-round makes concealment in most deer habitat difficult. To make matters worse, many albinos in general have poor eyesight. Perhaps that is why albino deer are rare: lack of camoflauge increases deer predator attacks, poor eyesight, and a recessive, rare gene. A gene will usually only be passed on through a population if the traits that those genes control are beneficial to an animal. However, some traits, such as albinism, can be carried an non necessarily exhbited.

All About Albino White-tailed Deer

Because albinism is a recessive trait, both deer must carry the gene before it can occur in their offspring. An albino deer bred to another albino would have only albinos. An albino bred to a normal deer with no recessive genes for albinism would produce all normally pigmented white-tailed deer. Offspring from this cross would carry the recessive gene for albinism but would be normally colored.

When carriers of albinism breed there is a one-in-four chance they will produce an albino fawn. As I mentioned earlier, recessive genetic traits typically become less common unless they confer a survival advantage or are artificially enhanced through selective breeding.

All About Albino White-tailed Deer

Based on deer hunter reports, only about one deer in 30,000 is an albino! However, not all white deer are true albinos. Some white whitetails have normally pigmented noses, eyes and hooves. In that instance, it would only be a genetic mutation for hair color but not other pigments.

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166 thoughts on “All About Albino White-tailed Deer

  1. Saw an albino deer in Palmyra, Virginia yesterday.

  2. I saw an almost (70 precent) white deer off interstate 90 near West Seneca, N.Y. (Buffalo) right before the William Street exit. Saw it at 8 am….told my girlfriend….on our way home… 5:30pm….saw it again with her!!!

  3. I too have seen the albino doe on Ridge road in Gibsonia, Pa. Last year she had two fawns.

  4. I saw a white deer today while canoeing on falls lake in Raleigh.

  5. We live north of Clarksville, Arkansas, on Hwy 21. My granddaughter and I were driving down the road when our neighbor stopped us and said look out there. It was a doe and a fawn, and the fawn was solid white. MY first albino.

  6. I just saw an albino baby deer in West Deer Twp., Gibsonia, Pa. In my backyard. It’s the second one I have seen, first was near Erie about 10yrs. Ago. What a truly amazing and rare site!

  7. My husband and I just saw a white deer outside our kitchen window here on Whidbey Island, Washington. We see a lot of deer around here but this is the first one we’ve see in 18 yrs., here. It was starling and quite beautiful. It was with two other “normal” looking deer.

  8. I just saw a deer this morning that was mostly white. It had some dark coloring around the face and foot area. At first as I was driving up on it I thought it was a goat. Then I asked my husband how could a goat be loose in this area. As I got closer I realized it was actually a deer and there was a normal colored deer behind it. We were in Vernon, New Jersey. I have never seen a deer that looked like that before it was beautiful.

  9. I’ve never seen white deer before but this year we have 2 white does similar size in our back pastures. Unable to tell if they are true albino. What’s the chance of having two though?

  10. I saw an white doe in Nacogdoches, Texas, this weekend. My first thought was “sick llama?” When I got closer, she took my breath away.

  11. Spirit of Christmas showed up in our yard this morning. My first ever albino deer. He was breath-taking. So grateful for the chance to see one in my lifetime. WF, NC.

  12. March 9, 2014 at the Wake Forest Church of God in North Carolina we saw what we think was an albino deer. It was with a herd of deer, about 15. This deer looked to be about a year old and solid white. We watched it in amazement as it grazed the grass. Great way to end the night!

  13. Amy Huebner says:

    My dad and I just saw a beautiful albino whitetail! Wow, truly amazing. Winnebago county, Wisconsin.

  14. Raymond Kull says:

    Just saw our first albino deer at Keystone College in Lackawanna County, during a softball game. Awesome sight. Hoping to see it on our way home. Didn’t get a picture…we were in awe of the deer.

  15. sammy neely says:

    Saw an albino white tailed deer this morning near a ranch by Camp Wood, Texas. We were out for an early morning walk and saw this deer who was in a group of three whitetails. The other two deer were of the usual brown coloration. What a treat! ……..of course something was wrong with the camera. Grrrrrr!

  16. We saw a small solid white yearling deer on the way home from church in South Carolina. Felt like it was a sign of something very special. In all my 70 years the first one I have seen.

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