BEREA, Ohio — It's no surprise to find a variety of animals when traveling through the Cleveland Metroparks. However, an Olmsted Falls woman spotted something that you don't see everyday.
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During a run through the Metroparks' bridal trails in Berea over the weekend, Tammy Stevens encountered what appears to be an albino racoon.
"Yes Virginia...there is a Santa Claus.......and Albino Raccoons do exist in the Cleveland Metroparks! What a treasured surprise when this beauty crossed my path on a run on the bridle trails in Berea," Stevens wrote in a post on Facebook. "I feel like I just confirmed that unicorns do exist! Shared pics with the Rocky River Nature Center. They said it was a rare find indeed!"
How rare is it to see an albino raccoon? The Cleveland Museum of Natural History reports that only one in every 10,000-20,000 raccoons is born with albinism. The museum had some practical experience with the animal in 2016, after a baby albino raccoon was found inside an Ashland factory and was eventually adopted by the museum.
According to the museum, albinism is an inherited genetic condition characterized by the inability to produce melanin, the pigment in hair, skin and eyes.
Some of our TEGNA sister stations have reported sightings of albino raccoons in the last few years. In 2022, an albino raccoon was trapped in Lindale, Texas. A year earlier, a pair of albino raccoons were spotted in the backyard at a home in West Knoxville, Tennessee.