Our biologist takes a stab at identifying yet another deer anomoly.
QUESTION: What do you think this is? — Jeff M.
ANSWER: It’s weird, that’s what it is.
I can’t say for sure without putting my hands on it, which I wouldn’t want to do anyway, but I’d say it is very likely a fibroma. Fibromas are essentially excessive growth of epithelial and dermal (skin) cells. They are typically dark brown or black, except in areas where the hair is white, where they are often tan or pink (un-pigmented).
They are caused by a viral infection, although biologists aren’t entirely certain how they are transmitted. It could be through direct skin contact with other deer or objects infected deer have come in contact with, or through blood-feeding insects. Although they are typically more integrated with the skin they are, on rare occasions, stalked, like this one. — Recent Ask the Biologist Question:
Happiness Is a Large Gut Pile: They do things a little differently in the South, and that includes gutting deer.
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