In a rare sighting, nature photographer David Kramer discovered a striking pale American badger during a hike in Point Reyes National Seashore.
Kramer recently took a picture of the unusual animal before it quickly darted out of sight in the park, as SFGATE reported.
The Point Reyes National Seashore recently shared this unique find on its Facebook page — explaining that because the badger’s eyes are brown or black, not pink, and that its nose also has some pigment, it’s likely leucistic rather than fully albino. That partial loss of coloring is thanks to a genetic mutation. (Dave Press, a manager with Point Reyes National Seashore, also told SFGATE that alternatively, the animal might have erythrism, which means an animal's fur or skin are abnormally pigmented red.)
The badger is part of a robust population in West Marin, which has expanded into new areas over the past decades, as the Mercury News reported. Press noted the park's ideal conditions for badgers, with open grasslands and coastal scrub habitats rich in prey, and that while badgers are primarily nocturnal, they may emerge during cold days for sunning.
Despite the large badger population, this would be the first known member with leucism, according to park rangers — although a family of leucistic raccoons has been spotted across the Bay near Oakland’s Lake Merritt for years.
Feature image via NPS Point Reyes.