(Wellington, CO) Prairie Wildlife Research posted a photo to their Facebook page
this morning that seemed to feature "polar bear" prairie dogs.
We asked them whether or not such a thing is real. They said that while
there is no actual "white" species, these two fellas sure look like polar
"These are black-tailed prairie dogs in South Dakota that are leucistic,"
PWR told County17. "The loss of pigmentation in their fur gives them a
white appearance, but they are not albino."
Leucism is only a partial loss of pigmentation, while albinism involves the
loss of melanin. The giveaway is in the eyes. Though, albino prairie dogs
with pink eyes have been spotted
near Wind River Reservation.
Leucistic prairie dogs are a rare genetic mutation. You can see where a
white prairie dog wouldn't exactly blend in during the summer months. These
two are part of a natural zoo in South Dakota.
For the last eleven years, Prairie Wildlife Research has worked to study
and conserve local prairie wildlife, including their work in helping save
the black-footed ferret from extinction. You can donate to their
organization here .