While albinism is a congenital disorder in humans, it’s considered a hereditary condition in animals due to the absence of melanin. Albinism in animals generally affects the pigment of:
Animals can have both biological pigments and structural colors, which means they can appear to be colored white due to the two mechanisms being affected by albinism. While albino animals are a rare sight, seeing the various species with an alternate coloring can have incredibly interesting results.
Here are 16 of some of the world’s rarest albino animals.
1. Eastern grey squirrels have a gene that can make their coats white and some towns have noticed a higher number of white squirrels including Marionville, Missouri and Brevard, North Carolina. However, these bright squirrels are rare to spot as they find themselves more noticeable to predators like hawks.
2. Some penguins go sans suit and instead appear all-white. Much like albino squirrels, these white penguins have a more difficult time fishing and camouflaging in the ocean, but one would imagine they would be hard to spot in the snow.
3. White lions are caused by a recessive trait, which is derived from a less-severe mutation in the same gene that causes albinism. These all-white lions have continued to be able to breed and hunt successfully without human intervention.
4. Unlike Snowy owls, which can appear all white, albino owls have pink skin around their eyes and can have pink toes alongside their white feathering.
5. Instead of appearing all white, albino pythons usually have light yellow patterns compared to the usual brown and tan designs that decorate their scaly bodies.
6. Albino dolphins are an incredibly rare sight in the wild, but a Louisiana bottlenose dolphin known on the Internet as Pinky, has been spotted around for over eight years now.
8. Albino kangaroos certainly stand out when compared to their grey-colored comrades. Albinism in kangaroos usually results in fur white with pinkish eyes, paws, and snouts.
9. Albino deer are incredibly rare with only one in every 30,000 having this sort of lack of pigmentation.
10. Albino alligators are rarely seen in the wild due to them having an average survival span of 24 hours. This short life expectancy is due to the white pigment giving the alligators a lack of protection from UV and also a harder time hiding from predators.
12. Albino chipmunks have low survival rates due to their white coat being so noticeable for predators like hawks, owls, or even cats.
13. Known as the only white gorilla in the world, Snowflake was a famous albino primate who, according to research, got his white coloring due to being inbred.
14. While albino koalas are known to exist in the wild, Onya-Birri is the only one known to science. This rare koala was born in 1997 in the San Diego Zoo.
16. Albino green turtle hatchlings are said to occur at a rate of one in many hundreds of thousands. However, only 1 in 1,000 are said to make it to adulthood with their rare white appearance making them more susceptible to predators.