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A ghostly badger… or just erythristic?

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‘Erythristic’ might not be a word that you’ve come across very often. 

Whilst reviewing the footage from one of the camera traps involved in our Deescover Project, one caught our eye – a ghostly, almost white badger trotted across the screen. Later that same day (Christmas Day in fact) another badger did the same. And they looked quite different. You can see these two clips in the video above.

Something was clearly up – the weather was much the same, and there was no other environmental or technical explanation. It then came to mind that a customer had a while back sent us some pictures of an unusual badger visiting his backgarden – an erythristic badger nonetheless.

Erythrism describes a genetic mutation and causes an unusual reddish pigmentation of fur in a number of mammals. This reddish pigment can be very light, and replace other fur pigments. This means that if you’re lucky enough to spot an erythristic badger, they can appear almost white.

After discussing with the badger recorder for this part of Wales, it seems erythristic badgers are rarely recorded here. In fact, this is the first known sighting in the area for about 17 years!

We may head back to see if we can pick up this ghostly badger on camera trap again…

The Deescover Project is focused on the Clwydian Range & Dee Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. NatureSpy will be using camera traps to uncover the rarer and under-recorded species that live in some of Wales’ most stunning scenery.

As well as looking for the AONB’s wilder side, the project will also be visiting schools in the area to engage pupils with the often-unseen wildlife that lives on their doorstep.

A team of volunteers is helping to set up and collect the camera traps, and submit valuable wildlife records to Cofnod, North Wales’ Environmental Record Centre.


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