JACKSON, Wyo. — The National Elk Refuge’s (NER) winter trail camera footage captured the image of a rare orange raccoon walking along a river bank.

According to the NER, the raccoon has a congenital condition of abnormal red pigment in its fur known as erythrism. Eric Cole, senior wildlife biologist at the NER, says the coloring is a genetically determined pigment condition that is not indicative of anything else wrong with the animal.

“It is relatively rare in wild raccoons to my knowledge,” Cole says.

National Geographic has previously noted that erythrism is not yet a well understood condition in animals, but it may be caused by an overproduction of red pigments or an underproduction of dark pigments.

In August 2022, a pink grasshopper with the same suspected condition was spotted on Shadow Mountain.

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Buckrail @ River

River is a Community News Reporter with a passion for wildlife, history, and unique mountain stories. She’s also a gemini, dog mom, hiker, and published poet, and has an obsession with alpine lakes and modern art.