While spotting deer in the woods is extremely common, witnessing albino deer is one event you don’t want to miss. According to wildlife biologist Fayln Owen, the odds of seeing an albino deer are only 1 in every 30,000 deer.
Carter Messer recently got the chance of a lifetime when witnessed the rare sight.
Messer, who lives in Mingo County, West Virginia, filmed two albino deer traveling together from his driver’s seat. The deer were far from where Messer filmed, but he still managed to capture the fantastic event on camera.
“I’ve seen several albino deer but this is the only time I have ever seen twins,” he told Storyful.
Check out the unbelievable footage here.
The Genetics Behind The Albino Deer
But what exactly makes a deer albino? According to Mossy Oak, “By definition, an albino deer is totally absent of body pigment and is solid white with pink eyes, nose, and hooves.”
It’s all based on a deer’s personal DNA. They’re rare because albinism is an inherently recessive trait. As they detail, both a buck and doe have to carry the recessive trait for albinism to have albino fawns.
Mossy Oak explains the genetic trait behind the mysterious white coat.
“Since albinism and piebaldism are recessive traits, both parents must carry the trait to have albino or piebald offspring. The genes responsible for piebald and albino deer are not dominant and oftentimes the deer carrying these genes are biologically inferior.”
It’s even rarer to see more than one in the same spot at the same time.
In Native American folklore, it’s also been said that it’s bad luck to kill one.
Despite the beautiful, rare coat, there are some drawbacks for the albino deer. The genetic trait often leaves the deer with vision deficiencies. In addition, since it’s harder for the deer to avoid predators, it can be rare for one to reach maturity.
States such as Minnesota, Tennessee, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa have protections for the deer. With more than 50 percent white hair, Iowa protects the piebald deer and Montana with more than 75 percent.