Rare white deer turns heads in Halifax area
It’s not unusual to see deer in Maritime neighbourhoods, but one deer is turning heads in the Sackville area outside Halifax.
The fawn is almost completely white, except for a few brown spots. Bruce and Elaine Stearman first spotted the deer outside their Middle Sackville home one morning in September.
“I looked out and I thought I saw a goat,” says Bruce.
“And then we looked a little further and saw the mama deer in the middle of the road,” says Elaine.
The mother and fawn stuck around long enough for Bruce to snap a few photos. Then they wandered back into the woods.
“I was very shocked to see one that was white because it was something new to me,” says Elaine.
A week later, the pair was photographed a few kilometres away, in Lucasville.
“I was interested to hear that it was spotted again because that means they are still around and doing OK,” says Elaine.
While hunting season is on the horizon, the most immediate danger to the fawn and its mother is Highway 101, which cuts through Lucasville and Middle Sackville.
“Hoping nobody’s driving too fast up the road here. It would be a shame to have it get hit,” says Bruce.
Andrew Hebda, the curator of zoology at Nova Scotia’s Museum of Natural History, says the deer is not albino, but has a rare genetic variation called piebald.
“The images very clearly show that because it has blotches of colour,” says Hebda.
The province has received a number of reports about piebald deer in the Sackville area and Hebda says there have been at least three different piebald deer spotted this season.
He has found photo evidence of other piebald deer from Cumberland County dating back almost a century.
“There’s two in 1917, not that tremendously distant from one another, so it happens,” says Hebda.
Elaine hopes this isn’t the last she’s seen of the little white deer.
“Hopefully they will make it through the winter and grow to be strong and healthy.”
With files from CTV Atlantic's Jayson Baxter