An albino white-tailed deer.
Getty Images, Lynn_Bystrom

Rare Albino Deer Keeps Returning to This Tennessee Backyard

In Tennessee, the rare coloration makes a deer illegal to hunt.

A rare albino deer made three appearances in a Tennessee backyard this week.

Abbey and Trevor Cabler of Spring Hill, Tennessee were getting ready to go the gym when they noticed the pure white deer out the window. The albino deer was grazing casually on their property.

"I knew it was so rare, and it was just so beautiful," Abbey Cabler told USA TODAY. "I was like, more people need to see this." And indeed, estimates say albino deer without any pigmentation are 1 in 30,000.

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They named the deer Casper, due in part to its Halloween timing and in part because albino deer are often referred to as the "ghost of the forest."

Casper the albino deer.

Abbey and Trevor Cabler

Casper was spotted again the next day, and again a few days later. That time Abbey was able to get even closer to the deer by driving up beside him in her car.

"He was on the side of the road on another property just eating some grass," she said. "And I pulled up next to him and was saying, 'Hey, bud. What's up?' and he just hung out. Which is pretty cool. I think the deer around here are pretty used to us because they definitely see us very often."

Earlier this month, photos of another white buck were posted in East Tennessee. That buck was spotted near Johnson City and Jonesborough. Photos were posted to social media and people speculated that it was an albino or piebald whitetail deer. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency believes it to be a fallow deer or sika deer, both of which are exotic species from Europe and Asia, the Tennessean reported.

Albinism is caused by a rare genetic malfunction that impedes a cell's ability to produce melanin. Melanin is what provides color for skin, fur, and other body parts. A lack of melanin causes a deer's normal brown coloration to appear white. Other gene-based genetic mutations that deer can be born with are leucism and piebaldism. In some cultures, white deer have symbolic meaning. It is even illegal to shoot them in some states, including Wisconsin, Montana, and Tennessee, the home of Casper.

READ MORE: Watch a Rare Piebald Black Bear Stroll Through Grounds