COLLIERVILLE, Tenn. — Chances are good that at some point, you’ve come face-to-face with a raccoon. But the likelihood that you’ve seen an albino raccoon — like the one captured in Collierville Wednesday — is much lower.
“It’s extremely rare,” said Matthew Caldwell, co-owner of Alpha Wildlife. “They say you have a better chance of getting struck by lightning than seeing one of these animals.”
Some wildlife experts say only one in about 750,000 raccoons are albino.
Your chances of being struck by lightning at some point in your life are one in about 14,000, according to the National Weather Service.
That’s why Caldwell with and his friend and business partner, David Parrish, were stunned when they caught one in a Collierville family’s backyard.
“Honestly, I was a little taken aback, Parrish said. “I’ve seen albino possums, seen albino deer. Never seen an albino raccoon. And for this one to be as big as it is, it’s just kind of a shock.”
He estimated the raccoon to be about two or three years old.
Few albino raccoons survive in the wild. Parrish said since they’re born without that natural protective camouflage, they’re easy targets for bigger animals.
This particular albino raccoon one was one of four raccoons wreaking havoc on a family’s property and destroying their bird and squirrel feeders, Parrish and Caldwell said.
Just like any other raccoon, albinos can carry disease and be dangerous.
“Especially moms with babies around” Caldwell said. “And if you corner an animal, obviously a wild animal like that can get vicious.”
They say if you find one, don’t keep it as a pet or try to relocate it yourself.
“You can trap them yourself, but you have to release them back onto the same property where you trap them at,” Caldwell said. “They’re not allowed to relocate the animals without the proper licensing and permits.”
Parrish and Caldwell released both raccoons back into the wild at Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park in north Shelby County Wednesday afternoon.