In a rare and bizarre incident, a whitetail deer was found stumbling in Farragut, Tennessee, with thick hair growing out of both of its eyeballs. According to a report by livescience.com, the hair covered both of the buck's cornea and the animal was seen wandering in a Tennessee suburb.
According to the report, the animal's unusual feature has been attributed to a type of benign tumour that can appear in any part of the body. The rare condition has been attributed as corneal dermoids, in which a tissue of a particular type grows in the wrong place. In the deer’s case, its skin tissue with hair follicles cropped up on the deer’s cornea.
The year-old buck was first found wandering in a suburb in Knoxville in late August 2020. Its strange appearance and sighting did alarm few local residents. But when they took a closer at the animal, they noticed it was in distress and was bleeding, the National Deer Association said. They even shared a close-up shot of the deer on Twitter.
According to the National Deer Association’s magazine – Quality Whitetails, the foundling's condition has been termed as 'corneal dermoids', which has been found in another whitetail buck in the area. Sadly, the deer was put to rest by animal control officers, who suspected it may have been infected with some Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).
However, after the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study (SCWDS) unit conducted tests on its severed head, things turned tragic as the earlier tests were proved wrong. The foundling did not have CWD but was suffering from epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD), which led to its disorientation. It can cause fever, severe tissue swelling and loss of fear of humans among others, the report added.
Sterling Daniels, a wildlife biologist at the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA), told the magazine that the hairy-eyed deer could tell day from dark, but he’s not sure about its ability to 'see where it was going'. However, the illness does not explain why the deer's eyes sprouted hair.