The other day I was walking the Noland Trail as usual, and out of the corner of my eye I saw what appeared to be a dog off the leash! It is my duty as a Park Ranger to ensure that all canines and wild animals are safe within the Park, so naturally, I started to head that way. To my surprise, I realized that it was not a dog off the leash at all, but what appeared to be a white deer! After snapping some photos, I headed back to the office to dive into research.
Piebald deer v.s. albino deer
What I saw that day is known as a piebald deer. If you are a regular visitor to our Park, then you have probably seen plenty of whitetail deer. Our Park is home to many. Piebald deer are whitetail deer with a genetic mutation. Piebald deer have varying amounts of white and brown hair, black hooves, and brown eyes and nose. This mutation is also sometimes called leucism. Leucism more broadly refers to abnormal deposition of pigments. Leucism may cause pale or muted colors, or the irregular coloration known as piebald.