KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. — A Knox County family captured a rare find on camera this week: an all-white albino raccoon!
Andrew Jansen captured the raccoon on video wandering on his porch Monday night. His cats were equally as excited by the creature -- making some noises and staring intently at it as it casually strolled by the glass door.
Phil Colclough, the Director of Animals, Conservation and Education with Zoo Knoxville, said albino raccoons are spotted more often than people think. While the creatures have a roughly 1 in 10,000 chance of being born with albinism, the rare and attractive critters are sought after and kept as pets.
Even though he can't be completely certain, he said it's possible this wandering trash panda was someone's pet.
"We've seen it before. Unfortunately, albino raccoons are pretty rampant in the pet trade... and I'll use this opportunity to say what a really bad pet they make," he said. "The albino gray squirrels over in Brevard, North Carolina are a really famous example of this."
Colclough said people need to be cautious around any raccoons and keep their distance, as they spread disease and are common victims of distemper.
"If you want to see some real raccoons -- the way they are supposed to look -- we've got them here in Zoo Knoxville at our Kids Cove," he said.