Five-legged does, vampire bucks, Bullwinkle deer—here’s our rogues gallery of some of the freakiest whitetails in the wild
Have you ever seen a buck with a full set of velvet-rimmed antlers—in December? How about a black whitetail, or a buck with protruding canine teeth? Here are eight freak-of-nature deer that are so odd, piebalds might seem commonplace by comparison.
This is true, I swear, though you might have a better shot of hitting a $400 million Powerball than ever seeing this animal alive in the wild. Just imagine for a moment how much you might freak out if you ever spotted a deer with a fifth leg jutting out of its backbone near the back of its neck! Well, it happens.
According to the Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA), it is called the “parasitic twin” phenomenon. Twin fawns begin to grow inside a doe, but the embryos do not completely separate, and one of them stops developing normally. The somewhat macabre extra leg is the remnant of the twin fawn that didn’t fully mature. Most of the misplaced fifth legs that have been documented are short and small, with tiny hooves attached. That fifth leg is most often located on the deer’s shoulder or back.
Parasitic twins have been documented in many animal species, and are surely the rarest of the rare whitetail oddity.
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