Rare ‘unicorn’ deer spotted in Georgia

GEORGIA — A rare ‘unicorn’ deer was spotted in Georgia, according to wildlife officials.

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The Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Division says a rare “unicorn” deer was spotted in the state recently. These deer are called piebald fawn and they say observations of them are uncommon but that depends on where they are and if they are “protected from harvest.”

Piebald coloring, according to Georgia Wildlife, is a “heritable genetic mutation” which causes less pigmented cells in the skin of the deer. They say both parents need to have the recessive gene, to pass it to their babies for them to be piebald.

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

WSB says the piebald deer is so uncommon and the coloring only happens in about 1% of the deer population. They say that the mutation can lead to some serious abnormalities, including dorsal bowing of the nose, short legs, curving/arching, deviated limb joints, and malformation of internal organs.

Georgia Wildlife says that most adult piebald deer that are spotted, probably have a mild form of the condition. Some piebald deer born with “more pronounced malformations usually are stillborn or die shortly after birth from deformities or predation.”

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