The white stag of Stevenage? Is there an extremely rare white deer running free in the fields of North Herts?
PUBLISHED: 18:36 31 January 2018 | UPDATED: 18:52 31 January 2018
Is there an incredibly rare white deer running free in fields to the north of Stevenage?
Yes is the answer according to Nathan Gardiner who sent us these images of what looks like a herd of fallow deer he says were running across fields between Graveley and Great Ashby.
At a distance the shot is hard to make out, but when you zoom in it appears to show a herd of deer with an unusually white animal running along with them.
If it’s true it could be an incredibly rare and auspicious sighting.
White deer have long been the subject of myths and legends.
The ancient Celtic peoples believed they were a sign of prophecy - foreshadowing a major shift in the world.
But just how rare is a white deer? The answer depends on exactly what kind of deer it is.
It is reasonably common to see almost white fallow deer which are known as leucistic.
This is where the deer is mainly white but will have some darker areas around the hooves and tail.
But it is much rarer to see a truly pure white albino deer which will have red eyes and pure white fur because it lacks melanin pigment in its skin.
A white stag or hart is even rarer. These animals were prized by hunters throughout history, hence the name of the pubs called the White Hart wherever they were seen or caught.
If this deer is going to become a stag you could tell by the stumps of antlers growing on its head.
If you look very closely you can see what look to be stumps on this deers head.
Could this become the very rare white stag of Stevenage?
If you manage to snap pictures of the white deer or any other wildlife anomalies, be sure to send them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.