“Brandneus konijn” (Russian Rabbit), a centuries old rabbit breed originating in Asia, by A. A. van Voorn (early 1900’s).
Rene Martin, Atlas de poche des mammiferes de France (1910).
White Deer, at the former Seneca Army Depot, New York (an ammunitions depot, retired by the U. S. Dept. of the Army in 2000).
Seneca is now home to the largest White Deer population in the world. The Seneca White Deer are a natural variation of the white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), but a recessive gene lacking pigmentation prevents normal coloration of the hair. Because they lack pigmentation, the Seneca White Deer are leucistic, not Albino. (Albinism is a result of the reduction of melanin. Albino deer are extremely rare, and have pink eyes.)
Population of the White Deer has been carefully managed inside the Army Depot over the last 60 years, resulting in an increase of the proportion of deer exhibiting the trait. The White Deer were first spotted inside the Army Depot in 1949 after the 10,000-acre site was completely enclosed with fences. The population has gradually increased since then.
Variations in the natural order of things have always appealed to me, so I was intrigued when I discovered there are pockets of white squirrel populations all over the United States and Canada. Above and below, Sean Crane’s white squirrel, Olney, Illinois.
To protect and preserve the white squirrel population in Olney IL, an annual squirrel count is held to track the population. The town also has ordinances to prevent dogs and cats (natural predators of the white squirrel) from running around town “at large.” White squirrels also have the right of way on the city streets of Olney, and there is a $500 fine if you run one over.
Only a few white squirrels are actually “albino” and are easily recognized by their pink or blue eyes and the absence of pigmentation anywhere else on their bodies. The albino squirrels have vision problems and are therefore at a disadvantage in the wild. Most “white squirrels” in North America are actually variants of the Eastern gray squirrel species, and are not albino squirrels.
The White Peafowl (not a “white peacock”) is actually a genetic variant of the India Blue Peafowl, which is a member of the Pheasant family.
White Peafowl have blue eyes (whereas “albino” animals have pink eyes. If you read my post about the White Raven of Qualicum Beach, you may have noticed that the White Raven also has blue eyes, and is therefore not an “albino.”)
The White Peafowl and Black-Shouldered Peafowl are mutations of the India Blue Peafowl. Both mutations are pure white, both sexes.
The White Ravens of Qualicum Beach, Vancouver.
The birds are said not to be “albino,” but “leucistic,” a genetic defect resulting in birds that lack normal pigmentation. (“Albinism” is a result of the reduction of melanin.) They first appeared in Vancouver about 10 years ago, which is now known as the “White Raven Capital of the World.”
A lovely site indeed.
More photos of the Vancouver Island birds by Mike Yip.