Piebald!

Piebald deer (buck without antlers)

If you live in the U.S., you’re probably familiar with white-tailed deer. Most of them are, y’know, brown.

Every now and then you’ll find an albino deer, which is all white with pink eyes.

And sometimes, you’ll find a deer that doesn’t quite fit into either category. These spotty brown-and-white deer are PIEBALDS.

Like albinism, piebald is a rare genetic thing: less than 1% of the deer population is piebald. It’s frequently associated with other weird physical stuff, like a bowed (“Roman”) nose, short or deformed legs, a curved spine, short lower mandible (overbite), and internal organ deformities.

This piebald buck— either a young button buck or a buck who’d recently shed his antlers, but I’m not familiar enough with deer to make an educated assertion— seemed pretty physically normal to my inexpert eyes… except that he was out at the wrong time of day, and totally unafraid of people.

Source:
Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. (2012). “Deer: Frequently asked questions.” http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/deer/faq.asp#piebald-deer.

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6 Comments to “Piebald!”

  1. I just know he is cute. I probably know less about deer than you.

  2. How unusual! How big was he? Was he old enough to have antlers? How did you happen across him?

    • (1) He was… normal deer size. Maybe a little smaller. I don’t get close to a lot of deer, so I don’t really have a good point of reference.

      (2) I don’t know whether he was too young to have antlers (“button buck”), or if he had shed his antlers from last season and the skin healed. But he had some rough business on and around his forehead, and I don’t think lady-deer have that.

      (3) I was hiking in the Great Swamp, I saw some movement in my peripheral vision, I turned, and there was a piebald deer standing about 10 feet away from the trail.

  3. Dear Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, See “Deer: Frequently asked questions.” Yes, dear Virginia, there is a piebald ungulated deer……………….

    • All deer are ungulates, aren’t they? “Ungulated deer” is redundant.

      …if you’re mocking my citation, I’m using a modified APA style. It is what it is.

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