RARE ALBINO RACCOON SPOTTED BY NEW YORK MAN IN HIS YARD
A 1 in 750,000 chance strolled into Dan Dowd’s yard a few months ago and decided to stick around. Albino raccoons are incredibly rare, and few live to adulthood.
But this white raccoon has been coming around for so long that Dowd gave it a name — Blanca.
To put these odds in perspective, you’re more likely to be struck by lightning than to see an albino raccoon in your lifetime. Crazy!
THE STORY OF BLANCA THE ALBINO RACCOON
Dan Dowd of Long Island, New York, is used to raccoons coming into his yard. He says that as long as he has lived on his property, raccoons have made regular appearances in his yard. And he likes when they show up!
“They dig here for the worms, and they visit my vegetable garden and partake in whatever they want.” He explained. “And I don’t mind.”
It’s a family affair, too — raccoon mothers will bring their young with them after birth to teach them how to find worms, or show them the sweet free vegetable garden, apparently. But this summer was a little different for Dan’s raccoons.
A BABY ALBINO RACCOON STARTED COMING AROUND
One mother raccoon started bringing her kits around (the term for baby raccoons), and Dowd noticed there was something a little different about one of them.
“…and one of them was an albino,” Dowd explained. “I call her Blanca.”
Blanca has been coming around Dowd’s garden for a few months now apparently, enjoying the snacks and comfort of his backyard. Dowd should consider himself lucky — one wildlife expert says that albino raccoons are incredibly rare.
Their birth rates are low to begin with, but they rarely make it to adulthood anyway. Raccoons are colored for camouflage, and the white of their fur means they stick out in the underbrush and trees, unlike their dark-colored siblings.
WHAT CAUSES ALBINISM IN RACCOONS?
Animals (and people!) are diagnosed with albinism when they have a defect in a gene that produces and distributes melanin. This can mean that their body produces very little melanin or none at all.
In people, there are less than 20,000 cases diagnosed every year. It’s even rarer in the animal world, as you can see by the likelihood that Blanca has made it through.
Dowd says that Blanca has become the mascot of the neighborhood, and he will continue to do what he can to help the white raccoon out.