This deer was photographed on Grand Canyon Jeep Tours & Safaris’ Grand Sunset Tour. It is a photo of an albino deer…or is it?
Albinism is uncommon in mule deer. Based on deer hunter reports, only about one deer in 30,000 is an albino. What usually happens is the mother abandons the albino fawn shortly after birth. If it is not abandoned, then the fawn has a difficult time with concealment and camoflage which, in turn, increases its chances of being killed by a predator. For an albino deer to reach adulthood is a rarity.
However, not all white deer are true albinos. An albino does not have the gene for normal coloration and does not produce the enzyme responsible for skin, hair and tissue coloration. The eyes of an albino are usually pink because blood vessels behind the lenses show through the unpigmented irises. On the other hand, white deer that have normally pigmented noses, eyes and hooves have a genetic mutation for hair color but are not an albino.
So what do you think? Is this a photo of an albino mule deer or is it just a deer with a white coat?