By Julie McCay Turner
Bedford is home to all of us, as well as to a fair selection of interesting wildlife. Beyond the coyotes and fisher cats, this spring’s den of foxes and their kits, a very unusual deer has been a recent visitor.
On November 6, Susan Grieb and Jack Donohue wrote to ask about an apparition strolling along Fox Run Road. “It is as large as a large deer, but it’s white with some brown spots,” she said. “It has small horns and its tail doesn’t look like a deer. Am I hallucinating?”
Next seen just before Thanksgiving, the animal was photographed by a Springs Road resident,and Grieb felt relieved that someone else had seen what she saw.
The animal in question is most likely a piebald deer. Its spots and mostly white coat are due to a mutation that tends to appear when there is an over-population of deer, according to one researcher on The Citizen’s board.
According to Myths and Legends of the Whitetail, J.T.Fleegle’s 2011 article in the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s newsletter, piebald or pinto deer represent less than one percent of the overall deer population.
This peripatetic piebald is still making the rounds of Bedford’s neighborhoods. He was most recently seen last week by Eileen and Nick Allen in the woods near Bandera Drive. On first glance, one of the Allens thought the unusual animal was a goat (Eileen) and the other saw it as a cow (Nick) before arriving at its true identity.
The Citizen thanks the Allens for their photographs to illustrate this story.