BILLINGS — After calling Billings home for at least the last 10 years, a well-known albino deer was found dead on Sunday, October 30, 2022.
Albino deer are relatively rare in the wild, but according to Chrissy Webb with Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, albino deer have been seen within Billings city limits for about 20 years.
Many were heartbroken to see a post appear on social media on Sunday stating the body of the doe had been found in a ravine.
The head of the deer was about 100 yards away - likely the result of coyotes, according to FWP.
Thinking it may have been killed by humans, some people shared their anger and hoped it wasn’t true.
“It sounded like it was sort of becoming a mascot of the neighborhood, so I understand people’s connection to it,” said Webb.
A game warden went out to investigate the death.
“As far as our warden investigated, there weren’t any signs of foul play or illegal activity,” Webb said.
She said the doe likely died of natural causes and old age. A usual lifespan for a deer is five to seven years, but by looking at the albino deer's teeth, it appeared to have doubled the expected lifespan.
“It was estimated to be over 10 years old,” said Webb. "I do think this specific deer was probably a little bit protected, because it lived really close to the urban center of Billings.”
Albino deer are not common, Webb said, although it's hard to know how frequently they occur: "Some research says it's as common as one in every 10,000; some research says it's as common as one in every 100,000, so there is a pretty wide range."
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