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Piebald and Albino Deer

 

 

Hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts sometimes report seeing an albino or partially white deer. Those with varying amounts of white fur are properly known as "piebald deer" and not true albinos. (True albinos have pink eyes and totally white hair.) Piebalds characteristically have varying amounts of white hair in their coat, ranging from slight amounts on the legs or sides to an almost totally white coat. These deer will have some brown hair and brown eyes.

The piebald condition results from an inherited genetic trait. Piebalds will frequently have other distinct physical conditions, including skeletal deformities (e.g. bowing of the nose, short/deformed legs, curved spine, short lower jaw, etc.) as well as internal organ deformities. Piebald deer are uncommon, typically occurring at less than one percent of the population, but can be more common on a local basis.

Unlike piebald deer, true albino deer are normal except for lacking the gene(s) for color. True albinos have pink eyes and white hooves, and are extremely rare. Like piebald deer, albino deer are not afforded any special protection by regulation in New Jersey.

 

Deer in New Jersey

Piebald deer at rest
Piebald deer showing typical coloration/markings
Click to enlarge

Close up of piebald deer face
Piebald deer with characteristic deformed snout and lower jaw
Click to enlarge
Photos by Bob Adams, Oakland, NJ

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Department of Environmental Protection
P.O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: November 19, 2012