Arnold's Albino Deer are Rare, But Not Uncommon
Arnold Parks and Recreation Director Susie Boone has seen one of Arnold's albino deer.
Some people have seen the albino deer roaming the city of Arnold and its parks.
Some have only heard about them.
Arnold Parks and Recreation Director Susie Boone says an all-white pink-eyed doe was first spotted in the late fall of 2007. A white buck was also spotted and, at one point, two fawns.
Poachers are believed to have killed the fawns and the buck hasn’t been seen in some time.
But the doe is still a visitor to the city.
Boone spotted her recently with two new fawns – both black.
Boone is reluctant to say which areas of the city the deer frequent for fear that poachers might come after them.
“I’m very protective of her,” Boone said. “The whole city is. My guess is because we do have so much good coverage for her and her babies, she probably doesn’t travel too far.”
Matt Ormsby, a naturalist with the Missouri Department of Conservation, says albino deer are rare but not uncommon. He says about 1 percent of deer are born with albinism.
“It’s actually pretty common,” Ormsby said. “Not all of them make it to adulthood because they do stick out and a lot of them will fall to predators.”
Coyotes or even foxes will go after a small deer, Ormsby said.
Albino deer are less likely to survive to adulthood because their white coat makes it easy for predators – including poachers -- to see them.
Arnold’s white doe may be rarer than most because of her ability to survive.
“She’s very stout,” Boone said. “She’s had at least two families. It’s been quite remarkable.”