Rare albino skunk catches the attention of the Bexley community

Bexley resident Molly Nelson had an unexpected visitor this spring.

In mid-April, a small albino skunk, about the size of a house cat, was prowling and stomping around her yard.

“It was like he was sniffing around, prowling around in the grass looking for grubs or bugs or whatever. It looked like he was looking for a meal,” Nelson said.

The little critter came and went, but not before Nelson managed to take a few photos and videos of it which she later shared to the Bexley Buzz Facebook group.

Her post received around 250 likes and 50 comments from locals excited to see the rare, smelly creature.

Albino skunks are “not common,” while their black and white siblings are ubiquitous, especially during the spring, said ODNR Wildlife Biologist Katie Dennison.

“The one thing about albino animals in general is that they often don’t live as long as other animals, or they can be more susceptible to predation, because many animals rely on some kind of camouflage, perhaps to avoid predation, if they are solid. white, they may not be able to avoid predation either,” she said.

“But that’s probably not that big of a problem for skunks, because their main defense is chemical rather than camouflage.”

How common is albinism in animals?

Purdue University says an estimated 1 in 20,000 to 1 in 1 million animals are born with albinism.

Albinism is caused by a rare set of genes that prevent cells from producing melanin, the substance that gives skin, fur, hair and eyes their color, according to an article from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

If you see a skunk in your yard – albino or otherwise – Dennis recommends leaving the skunk alone and walking away from it slowly.

“Skunks don’t want to spray. They do it as a defense mechanism,” she said.

As for Bexley’s skunk, Nelson hasn’t seen it since, but she said a friend did.

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This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Rare albino skunk catches Bexley community’s attention

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