The ghostly white fallow deer, which look as though they have stepped from the pages of a fantasy book, were seen grazing among woodlands.
The enchanting white creatures are rarely seen in the wild because they are easy targets for predators and hunters wanting unique trophies. It is believed their white colouring is caused by leucism – partial loss of pigmentation caused by a reduction in multiple types of pigment, not just melanin. A tiny number of white deer are albinos and are identified by their pink eyes and poor eyesight.
The British Deer Society said: “These are fallow, a species which is widely distributed across much of the UK and for which white is a recognised colour variety. White fallow are not seen as often as the other three main colour types (common, menil and black), but as you will have noted they do stand out! White fallow are not albinos as their eyes are a normal dark colour rather than pink or red.”
The ghost-like appearance of white deer has attracted myth and superstition over the centuries. One legend suggests that a hunter who kills a white deer will experience a long run of bad luck.