Mystery of the white deer

Strange sight: The white deer
Strange sight: The white deer

A remarkable picture of a white deer captured on camera by reader Paul Nelson at a location near Hailsham.

He has seen plenty of deer while walking his two dogs in the woods, but never one like this.

Paul, who works as a driver for Zebedee’s Lunch Box delivering meals to local nurseries and schools, thinks it must be an albino.

He said, “It was a rare privilege to see - perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

But expert Trevor Weeks, Founder and Operations Director of the East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service, has studied the picture and is not so sure.

He said, “There is some darkness around the hoofs which could mean this fallow deer is only leucistic and not albino. The skin colouration by the tail also makes me feel it is probably not an albino too.

“It is fairly common to see both leucistic and melanistic fallow deer in Sussex. Melanistic is the opposite to leucistic and where you see the almost completely dark chocolate coloured fur all over the deer, rather than the two-tone colours.”

He added, “I have had hundreds of sighting of leucistic deer but only once seen a true albino. In case this is an albino it would be good not to publish the exact location as people see albino deer as trophies for hunting.”