Albino Sea Turtle
Sea turtles can live to surprisingly long ages but they suffer from high mortality when they’re young. Albinos are especially vulnerable due to their bright white color. The inquisitive-looking example above top was photographed at the Sea Turtle Sanctuary at Isla Mujeres near Cancun, Mexico.
Every year around 15,000 Green and Hawksbill turtles are hatched and housed at the Thai Military Sea Turtle Conservation Center on Khram Island near Pattaya, and every so often an albino turtle turns up. The hatchlings are kept at the Center until they’re about 6 months old, at which point their shells have hardened enough for them to have a better chance of survival in the sea.
Onya-Birri, the only albino koala in captivity, was born September 1, 1997 at the San Diego Zoo. He spent the first six months of his life the way all baby koalas do – inside his mother Banjeeri’s pouch. When he emerged for the first time, zoo staff were likely as surprised as Banjeeri though she has raised Onya-Birri just as she would a non-albinistic cub.
(image via: Life In The Fast Lane)
Onya-Birri, whose name means “ghost boy” in the language of Australia’s aboriginal peoples, had orange-tinged fur in common with normal gray koalas when he was very young.
Snakes on a plain? Albinism occurs in all snakes but it adds an extraordinary quality to cobras. Though they may lack pigment in their skin and eyes, potential owners should be aware that they’re just as poisonous as their more colorful cobra cousins.
(image via: Sharenator)
Since one albino cobra isn’t creepy enough for some, how about three? This toxic trio (shown at just 2 weeks of age) hatched at the National Zoological Gardens in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in June of 2005. Their albino mother laid a total of 20 eggs but only three hatched.
(image via: Life In The Fast Lane)
Hedgehogs are native to Europe, Asia, Africa and New Zealand (though not Australia), and they are extremely popular in the United Kingdom. The smaller African Pygmy Hedgehog subspecies make docile pets and albinism gives this already odd-looking creature an extra touch of weirdness.
(image via: Poisonfrogs)
Breeders who specialize in hedgehogs often offer a range of coloration that includes albinos, possibly because some potential owners may be averse to the glowing red eye effect that makes them look like miniature hogzillas. The cute critter above appears to be a “snowflake”.
Genetic mutations can result in lobsters being blue, yellow, orange, even two different colors (and sexes!) split right down the middle. But like the great white whale of the 19th century, the elusive white lobster is something extra special, mysterious and beyond just a novelty. Indeed, the odds of an all-white lobster occurring are estimated to be about 1 in 30 million! Odds or not, white lobsters have been caught before and will be caught again. The above specimen, “Lincoln the Lobster”, was trapped by Casco Bay lobsterman Bill Coppersmith in 1997.
(image via: Telegraph UK)
You know you’re thinking about it so let’s get it out: Will a white lobster still turn “lobster red” when plunked into the cookpot? According to Robert Bayer, director of the University of Maine’s Lobster Institute, Lincoln would end up a “sort of cooked white gray — not red.”
Bats exhibit albinism on occasion but anecdotal evidence seems to indicate the condition is more rare than in other mammals. The little guy above was rescued from a cat attack in early 2004 and it still looks freaked out, holding onto Pam Tully’s thumb for dear life! Tully, a carer at the Batreach Bat Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre located near Cairns in northern Australia, nicknamed the Little Northern Freetail bat Starshine.
(image via: i-Pets)
There’s only one known albino Leaf-nosed Spectacled Bat, and it lives at the Moscow Zoo’s Ekzotarium pavilion – as it should, being totally ekzotik. The bat was born in January of 2007 and has been named… wait for it… Angela!
Axolotls are neotenic – meaning they remain in their larval, gill-breathing form and usually do not metamorphose into lunged, land-living adult salamanders. Axolotls can assume various forms including Golden, Leucistic and Albino. The leucistic (white) form displays the dark eyes that many pet owners find more appealing than the blood red blinkers of the albino variety. Here’s a short video of a “dancing” axolotl complete with cute/annoying background music: ”Axolotl Dance”, via Punki80
(image via: EPOCA)
Popular as pets due in large part to their “smiley” faces, axolotls can grow up to a foot (30cm) long and are endangered in their primary habitat: Lake Xochimilco in and around Mexico City.
Understanding the scientific explanation for albinism will do much to eliminate harmful and discriminatory attitudes that unfairly target albinos of any species. Live and learn – and appreciate nature for its variety and wonder!
There are only about a dozen white alligators in the world and not all of them are strictly albinos. Bouya Blan (White Fog), above bottom, is a 22-year old leucistic alligator who lives at Gatorland in Florida. Leucistic animals have some, though very little pigmentation as can be seen in Bouya Blan’s icy blue eyes.
(image via: All Hat No Cattle)
From the bayou to the big time! “White Diamond” was born in Louisiana but wows crowds at Germany’s Serengeti Safari Park these days. The 15-year-old albinistic variant of Alligator mississppiensis is the only albino alligator in Europe. Judging by his toothy grin, you won’t want to tickle those ivories!
Snakes can display varying degrees of albinism and their skin will range from snow white to what looks like an image printed from a copier that’s running low on color ink. As stealth hunters, albino snakes are at a huge disadvantage in the wild and rarely live for very long.
(image via: Bluecavs)
The double-headed albino snake above was born double-unlucky and it’s a wonder it managed to grow at all. Likely the snake hatched in captivity and has been carefully monitored by its owner. One problem (out of many) two-headed snakes have is that the heads will often attack one another. At least the above specimen’s heads split off the body at a narrow angle, mitigating the problem.
Looking a lot like a scraggly chicken with its fan-like tail feathers folded, the albino peacock (and its all-white, non-albinistic variant above) becomes the price of poulty when it puts on a classic mating display to impress the lady peahens – and any other living thing in range.
(image via: Frakin Cool)
Who could imagine the male peacock, the poster-child for brilliant color and former mascot for the NBC television network, would look just as magnificent (if not more) as an albino decked out in lacy white plumage?
Better to burn out than fade away? Fine for Neil Young maybe but not for the albino zebra. It appears that in zebras, albinism displays as a range of severity that preserves much of the animal’s natural black & white striped pattern.
(image via: Asquared185)
Though they tend to stand out in the presence of normal zebras, most albino variants show a softer, tawnier coat that could possibly be MORE effective as camouflage on the dry, dusty savannah.
(image via: Uncommonpics)
A completely white zebra would be virtually indistinguishable from a white horse. The above image depicts the result of a mating between a white horse and a non-albinistic zebra – truly a “zorse” of a different color!
As the only albino gorilla to be raised in captivity, Snowflake delighted visitors for nearly 40 years before dying of skin cancer in late 2003. Most gorillas only live about 25 years in the wild so Snowflake definitely beat the odds. Over the course of his adult life, Snowflake fathered 22 offspring though none of them shared his albinism.
Here’s a short video of Snowflake taken at his home in the Barcelona Zoo: Snowflake late in life at the Barcelona Zoo, via Errha
(images via: Totally Looks Like)
In many ways, Snowflake looks more human than gorilla – perhaps because most of us have nothing else to compare him to. Contributors to the website TotallyLooksLike.comhave picked up on this and have featured Snowflake not once, but twice.
(image via: Scholastic)
Albino dolphins were first sighted in 1962 and since 1994 three have been seen frolicking in or around the Gulf of Mexico. The latest is “Pinky”, a bottlenose dolphin of the Flipper variety that lives in Louisiana’s Lake Calcasieu. What’s up with Louisiana anyway? First albino alligators, now… in any case, Pinky is as pink as, well, the pink dolphin contestants on MXC must leap over while navigating the Rotating Surfboard of Death. Pinky owes her (his?) very unusual hue to blood vessels showing through blubber and unpigmented skin. If you think the pink dolphin has become a local tourist attraction, I’d say “Right you are, Kenny”.
Other types of dolphins have been known to display albinism, most notably the not-so-cute; not-so-pink albino dolphins living in Brazil’s Amazon River. That’s Amazon Pinky above left, American Pinky to the right… let the “USA!” chants begin!
I see your Great White Shark and I raise you a Great White Whale! Albino whales are rare but not exceedingly so – then again, something that big and that white is going to attract a lot of attention. Take Migaloo, for instance. Frequenting the chill waters of the southern ocean around Australia, Migaloo is an albino Humpback Whale. Other whale species such as the Beluga are normally white and an albino would only be detected by very close examination of its eyes.
(image via: Sharkdivers)
By the way, there really is a Great White Whale Shark – a 30-foot, one-of-a-kind (as far as we know) female was photographed by diver/naturalist Antonio Moreano in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of the Galapagos Islands.