Albino Animals: 6 Amazing, But Rare Albino Animals that You Just Have to Know About
Humans affected by albinism end up with pale skin. Likewise, animals show similar characteristics. However, animals don’t really become albinos. Albinism only affects humans. Animals can only be affected by conditions that exhibit similar characteristics to albinism in humans. The animals have white fur or hair and pinks eyes, along with the typical ashen skin. Moreover, “albinism” is often seen in birds and amphibians, but rarely in mammals. Such animals are sure to stand out, which makes them a fantastic site to see. You might wonder whether someone bleached them.
Here are 6 amazing, rare albino animals that have been documented.
1. Pearl, the Albino Alligator
Pearl is one of 12 known white alligators, worldwide.
Pearl’s body doesn’t produce melanin. That’s why this albino animal looks white, instead of the usual grey color on alligator skin and scales. That’s not all. Her cloudy eyes look pink. That too is due to lack of melanin. And, yes, it affects the eyes. Since they lack melanin, blood vessels show through, giving them such a pink color.
Her other features are more typical of normal alligators. She’s 2.3 meters long with sharp teeth. Just like the thousands of other big-toothy reptiles at Florida’s Gatorland preserve, where Pearl lives. Obviously, many people quickly notice Pearl from among the alligators in the preserve. That has led to the fame she enjoys in the public eye.
2. Albino Wallaby
If you visit a small Tasmanian island, you’ll find a bunch of rare “albino” wallabies. This is quite a spectacle and unexpected in the wild. Two things made it possible: lack of predators and locals think they’re cute. Without those two factors, you would only find the standard brown wallaby. White wallabies are too easy to spot by predators and would be quickly decimated.
So, now Bruny Island, south of Hobart, has as many as 200 white wallabies. You won’t fail to notice the snow-white fur of these fascinating creatures. They also have pink eyes, nose, and claws.
Unfortunately, that out-of-the-ordinary color comes with serious problems:
- the Wallabies are sensitive to sunlight (a daily challenge for anything living in the wild)
- they frequently have vision problems (might be hard to spot danger)
- higher than normal cancer rates
All that affects survival rates.
3. Albino Baby Turtle
Wildlife volunteers stumbled upon a rare albino turtle on a beach in Australia. The volunteers were stunned by its one-of-a-kind pearl color, something hardly ever seen in turtles. It’s probably the last thing they had in mind when they volunteered on Castaways Beach on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.
The tiny creature emerged from a green turtle nest. It was the only “albino” out of 122 hatchlings. In fact, the chances of albino sea turtles being born are far lower: one in hundreds of thousands.
But being born is only the start of the challenges this tiny creature must face. Take note that the chances of survival of regular baby turtles are extremely low: only 1 in 1,000 make it to adulthood. Therefore, an all-white turtle that stands out will undoubtedly have dramatically lower chances of survival.
4. Albino Lion
Considering the variety of wild animals found in Africa, you’re sure to come across a few “albinos”.
Indeed, a white lion cub was spotted in South Africa. This occurred in the Ngala Private Game Reserve on March 5th. Wildlife guide, McCabe, and animal tracker, Fanny Mathonsi found this unusual site in the wild. It’s certainly a remarkable find considering that Mathonsi worked in the area for 26 years before ever seeing such a white lion.
What produces such a rare occurrence?
The only time a white lion would be born is if both parents have a recessive mutation in their genes responsible for melanin (colored pigments). And the color isn’t a good thing either for lions. Since lions depend on camouflage to sneak up on and hunt prey, white color will give them away, unlike the normal tawny color. A tawny color blends well into vegetation like tall grasses. Hunting at night will also be a challenge for white lions.
5. Albino Snake
Snakes come in a wide variety of colors, but a white one is a rarity. That’s why the white Slaty Grey snake took the spotlight when handed into a wildlife park. Slaty grey snakes are native to Australia and usually dark brown. But the snake isn’t a true albino since it doesn’t have pink eyes. It’s more appropriately called leucistic since it still has some pigment.
Nevertheless, its odd look was enough to have it quarantined for its own protection. It was placed in a protected environment within the Territory Wildlife Park in Northern Territory, Australia.
6. Snowflake the Albino Gorilla
When you hear the word Snowflake, you probably think of a dainty, little creature. But that’s the name given to a male Western lowland gorilla. All because he was an “albino animal.”
The white-colored gorilla was born in the wild in Equatorial Guinea. He was captured in 1966 and moved to the Barcelona Zoo where he lived for 40 years. Being the only known white gorilla in the world, he became a zoo celebrity. Unfortunately, Snowflake passed away in 2003.
He had skin cancer.
Just as this white creature drew the public’s attention, scientists too had their attention on its genetic makeup. They wanted to figure out the genetic mutation causing its color-free complexion. After sequencing Snowflakes’ entire genome, Spanish scientists realized that his parents were likely an uncle and niece. That isn’t too big of a surprise since chances of babies being born as albinos increase with inbreeding.
Out of all the beautiful animals that capture your attention, you’re always sure to notice one that stands out like the albino. Often, albinos become the center of attention for tourists and, of course, pull in the crowds to zoos and nature reserves. That attention could even inspire people to appreciate nature more.
Just remember that as much as they are attractive to the eyes, their color may not be suitable for their survival. Therefore, it’s definitely not advisable to breed new generations of albino animals.