Albino deer makes an appearance in Columbia backyard

Tuesday, July 21, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 5:56 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 22, 2009
An albino deer in Sharon Kinden's backyard makes a rare appearance.

COLUMBIA - Deer often walk through Sharon Kinden’s half-acre yard on West Stewart Road. Even though she doesn't live far from downtown Columbia, the creek running through her backyard attracts wildlife.

Before Sunday, she'd never seen an albino deer.

“It was just an absolute shock when I did see it,” Kinden said. The fawn was eating from a deer feeder in her back yard.

"I just glanced out and there it was,” she said.

Lonnie Hansen, a Columbia-based resource scientist with the Missouri Department of Conservation, said that though albino deer are uncommon, they are not unheard of.

“Rare is the best way to put it,” Hansen said. “There are a half-dozen reports (of albino deer) each year, and we have 1 million deer in the state.”

Kinden has friends who live on Maplewood Drive who have also seen the albino deer. This was not surprising to Hansen, who said the albino gene is present in west Columbia.

“It is a recessive trait that requires the gene to be present in both the father and the mother," he said, adding "we seem to have that gene present in the western side of Columbia.”

Due to their color, albino deer often have lower rates of survival than the more common brown deer.

"They are kind of a genetic misfit," Hansen said. "They just stand out like light bulbs from a hunter's or predator's standpoint, especially when they're young."

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cwh51 July 21, 2009 | 9:40 a.m.

We had one of these in San Diego for several years until he was hit by a truck. This was in a high residential area but access to wildlands along the canyon slopes near a highly traveled hiway.
Cool photos of this little guy here in Columbia!

(Report Comment)
Glenn Rice July 21, 2009 | 12:26 p.m.

I saw this little guy a few days ago near Russell School. Great photo, much better than the one I got!

The White Stag was one of the many quests of King Authur's Knights, and has been steeped in mystery for centuries. To see one is considered a good omen in Celtic mythology.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro July 21, 2009 | 12:36 p.m.

When's unicorn season?

(Report Comment)
Mitchell Moore July 21, 2009 | 1:20 p.m.

Sugar, as we call it, is not albino. Albino deer have pink eyes and Sugar has dark eyes. White deer are 1 in 30,000 and two have been seen near Perch Creek and Chapel Hill...and Twin Lakes some time ago until a hunter got it. Albino deer are one in a million.

We call its momma Spice. Closeup of Sugar attached...or available if newspaper wants it in pdf format. Frankly, we sent pictures to another editor weeks ago and asked that they not be published. A curse upon any who would harass Sugar!

(Report Comment)
Mitchell Moore July 21, 2009 | 1:25 p.m.

This Snopes site has better stats on albino deer.

(Report Comment)
Fred Murphy August 6, 2009 | 3:32 p.m.


All you hunters better get down on your knees and pray for forgiveness RIGHT NOW! Jesus is really mad about all his brothers and sisters you've massacred!

(Report Comment)
Carlo Morpurgo September 20, 2009 | 5:29 p.m.

We just spotted it in our backyard this morning - I am assuming it's the same deer....

(Report Comment)
Carlo Morpurgo September 20, 2009 | 5:43 p.m.

PS: The link above does not work. This is the correct one:

(Report Comment)
Mitchell Moore September 29, 2009 | 10:32 p.m.

My 15-year-old, Josh Montaigu, took a few good pictures of the deer on Friday, September 25 showing it to be a button buck...the buttons appearing very recently. We saw the white fawn the weekend prior to that on Saturday and Sunday and did not notice the development of button-sized antlers on the top of its head.
We've called it Sugar because we didn't know if it was male or female...and it looks so sweet. Perhaps another name is appropriate...although Sugar is still good.
Casper comes to mind.

(Report Comment)

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