HOWELL, Mich. – The warmer weather has brought out a familiar face.
A rare albino deer born in Kensington Metropark several years ago was spotted Wednesday afternoon by Russell Rheaume a 74-year-old Brighton Township man.
“She should get a ticket though, she was jaywalking,” Rheaume joked.
Rheaume said he regularly drives through the park to get to his house but hadn’t seen the deer before.
“I’m always looking,” he said.
Rheaume was trying to get his phone out to take a photograph when the deer started to run, but he managed to capture an image that he shared with the Livingston Daily.
There is no official number of albino deer recorded, according to Ashley Autenrieth, a biologist for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
“They are rare enough that we don’t have a figure. That’s how rare they are,” she said.
Autenrieth said there are three types of albinism in animals – albino, all-white and piebald.
Albino is lack of pigmentation, she said, while all-white means the fur is all white. Piebald occurs when there are spots of brown on the animal.
“Michigan isn’t the only state to have albino deer, it happens everywhere,” Autenrieth said. “It’s just a matter of the gene expressing.”
The albino gene is recessive, she said, so there are animals that may carry the gene without it expressing.
She said animals with albinism often have other characteristics such as poor eyesight and shorter legs. They are more vulnerable to the predators as their white coats don’t provide camouflage.
Follow Kayla Daugherty on Twitter: @KayDaugherty92.
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