PHOTO: Rare ‘Unicorn’ Piebald Deer Spotted in Georgia

by TK Sanders

Georgia wildlife officials say they’ve spotted a rare “unicorn” deer with special coloring that only occurs in one percent of the population. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division posted pictures of the piebald fawn on its Facebook page earlier this week. The outdoor agency said it has received multiple tips about the deer in recent weeks; and it finally tracked the deer down for some candids.

The beautiful white and tan coloring of a piebald (which looks a bit like cow spots) comes from a heritable genetic mutation that causes fewer pigmented cells in its skin. Even rarer, both parents have to carry the recessive gene for the mutation to occur.

The GNR went on to explain that while the deer’s coloring is remarkable, the gene mutations can also come with physical issues.

“The coloring is cool to see amongst the standard brown and more brown,” the agency captioned. “But the genes that code for color also code for a number of physical traits, which leaves some piebald deer with serious abnormalities.”

The GNR also said that most deer with serious abnormalities die early, but that some piebald make it to adulthood with only a few visible quirks.

“These abnormalities include dorsal bowing of the nose, short legs, curving or arching of the spine, deviation of limb joints, overbite and malformation of internal organs,” they wrote. “Most adult piebald deer seen have a mild form of the condition, while deer born with more pronounced malformations usually are still born or die shortly after birth from deformities or predation.”

Agencies like GNR like to track piebald deer, so be sure to call your local bureau if you ever see one, especially a fawn.

The only deer rarer than the Georgia “unicorn” piebald are albino and melanistic deer

An Ohio man spotted an extremely rare white deer in Mill Creek Park back in April while driving. Don Foltz said he was thinking about his late father, who passed away 33 years ago to the day. All of a sudden, a “ghost” appeared in the form of a stark white deer.

“I spotted something white in the distance and drove up to find the albino doe,” he revealed.

Outsider’s Jon D.B. said that Foltz’s footage, filmed that early morning of April 16, was “remarkable” and that “nature provided a deeply spiritual experience” for him. Foltz went and told his story to Mill Creek Park officials, and was surprised to find out that the park knew nothing of the deer. Their last-known white deer died in May of 2021, and they assumed none other lived in those regions.

“The one I was filming was something no one had seen before,” Foltz said. “I like to think it was my father’s spirit saying ‘hi and happy easter’, as Easter was the very next day.”