What happened to this poor buck?
These photos were first shared on Facebook by Diane Horst Bachman late last year after a hunter harvested it in Chester County, Pennsylvania. According to Bachman, the deer was almost entirely bald and had oddly wrinkled brown skin.
Judging from the comment section, people speculated it was caused by anything from genetic defects to even chronic wasting disease. However, those who are a little more familiar with the condition recognized it instantly as mange. Demodectic mange, also known as red mange, can cause significant hair loss and a toughening of the skin that results in a wrinkled, leathery look. Sure enough, wildlife officials took a look at the photos and determined it was likely mange caused by the mite Demodex odocoilei.
Mange affects a number of animals, including raccoons and coyotes. Due to their alien appearance, sometimes these small critters are mistaken for the legendary Chupacabra, a mythical beast that drains blood from livestock. Have you seen any strange, hairless animals in the wild recently?
Images from Facebook