A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)

A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)

A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Frieda Van der Ree has a unique visitor she loves to see on her property in Nanoose Bay.

A fawn, which upon first glance appears to have three ears, and its mother have visited Van der Ree’s property approximately twice a week since last spring.

“We see more of them grouped together this time of year, but most often I see just the two of them by themselves,” she said.

Van der Ree has kept a close eye on the pair, partially out of curiosity and also out of concern. While the fawn is “healthy and thriving” now, she told PQB News it previously had a terrible limp.

“I thought, ‘oh no, this is not boding well for the little thing.’ But it seems to have totally recovered from that. Hopefully it was just an injury,” she said.

Wildlife is no stranger to Van der Ree’s property, as raccoons, squirrels and birds are always around. She said that at least three or four deer lay in her yard everyday, on a bluff that overlooks the road.

“They love to lay there and look down on the road so they can have a good view of dogs coming by.”

READ MORE: Distressed deer rescued from ocean in Hakai Pass by Parksville pair

As for the possibility of a third ear, experts would have to examine the animal up close.

An animal care technician at the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre (NIWRC), Megan Buemann, could not recall if a deer with a mutation such as a third ear has ever been brought to the centre. She said it would be a rare find.

The centre doesn’t take in adult deer, said Buemann, as they tend not to survive rehabilitation, citing that 90 per cent don’t make it due to stress.

“But when they’re fawns and have their spots, they do tend to have a greater chance of making it through,” she said.

In those cases, the fawns are transferred to a wildlife rescue hospital that’s part of the Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society in Courtenay, where Buemann said they’re setup to accept wildlife such as raccoons and deer.

According to Buemann, she’s aware of a deer and horse mutation where teeth have been found inside their ears, but has not heard of a third ear sighting on Vancouver Island.

In an email to PQB News, conservation office Andrew Riddell suspects the ‘third ear’ is actually an injury where the fawn’s ear was split and healed separately.

Riddell said he forwarded a photo of the fawn to a biologist for further inspection. According to Riddell, the biologist also agrees that it is highly likely to be a healed injury after the ear was split down the middle, and not a birth defect. He said the only certain way to determine if this was a mutation or healed injury would be through a physical examination of the fawn. However, doing so would put the deer through a lot of stress, which could also be harmful.

“We likely wouldn’t do this unless the deer was suffering in some fashion. But, this deer looks good and healthy,” said Riddell.

mandy.moraes@pqbnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

Parksvillequalicum beachvancouverislandWildlife

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

FILE - This Dec. 2, 2020, file photo provided by Johnson Johnson shows vials of the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. The U.S. is getting a third vaccine to prevent COVID-19, as the Food and Drug Administration on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021 cleared a Johnson Johnson shot that works with just one dose instead of two (Johnson Johnson via AP)
Six weeks with no new COVID-19 cases in Trail

The latest localized BC CDC COVID-19 numbers

Trail and Rossland are sending in a joint application to bid on the 2026 BC Winter Games.
Trail-Rossland support 2026 BC Winter Games bid

The Greater Trail communities hosted the event in 1996 and 2006

Reverend Susan E. Breisch, Minister/Community Spiritual Companion.
What is it about this God thing?

Reverend Susan E. Breisch is Minister/Community Spiritual Companion

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Most Read