Extraordinary moment snapper captures incredibly rare albino deer in fields near his home
An incredibly rare albino deer has been photographed in south-eastern Poland.
The white deer was photographed in the village of Staszęcin by amateur nature snapper Adrian Janiga from the nearby town of Dębica.
In some of the photos, the white deer is standing in a herd of normally-coloured, brown deer. In some, several of them are looking directly at the camera.
Others capture the animals in motion, prancing in the opposite direction, away from the Janiga.
One photo shows the white deer standing alone, its white fur standing out against the deep brown soil.
Although the animal’s body is facing away from the photographer, its head is turned towards him.
Janiga told Debica TV: “I take my camera with me for practically every further walk. This time I went to Wisłoka near the iron bridge. I often photograph deer there, so it wouldn't be different today. Looking for cool frames I came across something unusual. Among the herd of deer, I noticed an Albino deer, which is very rare."
The white deer has played a prominent role in many cultures' mythology with the colour white long being associated with purity.
In Celtic culture, the colour also represented the otherworld. For early man, the deer resprented a valuable resource, providing nourishment, clothing and other accessories; and the deer may have played a role in totemic culture.
While albino animals – like the deer photographed by Janiga – are striking to look at, research suggests that they may face obstacles in nature.
Compared to animals with brown coats, it is harder for them to blend in with the surrounding trees or ground, which makes them more vulnerable to predators or hunters, who often value rare animals especially.
Albino animals have a partial or full loss of pigmentation, which means that they have a lighter skin tone than other animals in their species.
Among mammals, an albino animal inherits one or more mutated genes.
This disrupts the production of melanin, which would usually determine the colour of their skin, fur and eyes.