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Albino deer attracts attention in Pleasant Hills, Jefferson Hills

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Dona Dreeland | South Hills Record
The little albino deer has been touring neighborhoods in Jefferson Hills and Pleasant Hills boroughs, bringing smiles to faces and pictures to share.

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For the better part of two years, there has been a bit of magic every time the albino deer is spotted in Pleasant Hills and Jefferson Hills boroughs.

She nibbles through neighborhoods, as passers-by stop to watch and sometimes take pictures.

“Actually, they're fairly common, more than people think,” Jack Lucas, land-management supervisor with the Pennsylvania Game Commission, said about the albino deer.

He has seen dozens of such deer since he started working for the game commission in 1993.

The lack of body pigment is a genetic deficiency, he said. The white coat, pink eyes, nose and ears are caused by a lack of enzymes, which produce color.

While the white deer might look different than the white-tailed deer, they have the same habits and the same lifespan. This particular deer has been seen gathering with others.

Tom Lovell, public works director from Jefferson Hills, was able to take a photo of the albino deer.

“It's a doe,” he said, “and of breeding age.”

If she gives birth, her fawns could be regular white-tailed or albino, Lucas said. Or they might be a mix of white and brown.

“It's a happy little deer. It's been photographed 100, 1,000 times. Its eyes are red from flash burn,” Lovell said with a laugh.

But it's the camera that Lucas recommends when the albino deer comes into view.

“It's the fascination with the untameness of wildlife,” Lucas said, that makes people stop in wonder.

Dona S. Dreeland is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5803 or ddreeland@tribweb.com.

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