Nature has endowed beings with a variety of colors. Sometimes it simply happens that a specimen appears into the world after “after they have forgotten the paints at home.” It is simply because the body has not what it takes to catch the color.
Genetic anomaly that prevents pigmentation is called albinism. Genetic mutation causes melanin (the fundamental contributing factor that determines how the skin, hair/feathers and eyes look like) to be missing completely or mostly 1)”Albino Animals” by Kelly Milner Halls, book published by Millbrook Press in 2004. The result is often spectacular. Of course, rarity (sometimes extreme) can make an albino animal a star. But it is something beyond that: Colorless, that body can reveal an unexpected beauty.
A similar genetic abnormality is leucism, which consists of a reduction in all pigments, not just melanin 2)”Macropod Husbandry, Healthcare and Medicinals” by Lynda Staker, book published in 2014. Even though in such cases one can see a hint of color or a surface that is only very close to white, the result can be just as spectacular.
The difference between albinism and leucism is not always obvious. Sometimes there are signs such as redness around the eyes which can be observed in some animals with albinism. Sometimes even experts have difficulty telling what it is without examining closely. But it may not matter so much; at least for us, ordinary viewers.
Prepare for a journey like you have never seen. Here two “worlds” become parallel: animals with and without color!
On this page:
- 1 Gorilla
- 2 Alligator
- 3 Koala
- 4 Peacock
- 5 Horse
- 6 Skunk
- 7 Rattlesnake
- 8 Rabbit
- 9 Turtle
- 10 Squirrel
- 11 Axolotl
- 12 Blackbuck
- 13 Hedgehog
- 14 Hummingbird
- 15 Porcupine
- 16 Raccoon
- 17 Alligator gar
- 18 Brown-hooded kingfisher
- 19 Wels catfish
- 20 Coati
- 21 Cobra
- 22 Crawfish
- 23 Stag
- 24 Donkey
- 25 Ferret
- 26 African clawed frog
- 27 Guinea pig
- 28 Sparrow
- 29 Guppy
- 30 Kangaroo
- 31 Kudu
- 32 Convict cichlid
- 33 Lava lizard
- 34 Mockingbird
- 35 Mouse
- 36 Muskrat
- 37 Scorpionfish
- 38 Starling
- 39 Tiger
- 40 Wallaby
- 41 Pacu
- 42 Golden jackal
- 43 Water buffalo
- 44 Moose
- 45 Python
- 46 Magpie
- 47 Blackbird
- 48 Kookaburra
- 49 Welcome swallow
- 50 Lion
- 51 Surprise bonus: When you see black in front of your eyes
The most famous albino animal is Floquet of Neu (Snowflake), a gorilla who lived between 1966 and 2003 (most of his life) in Barcelona Zoo, being a great attraction there 3)”Snowflake (gorilla)” in Wikipedia. According to some experts, it is the most photographed animal of all time. It is the same gorilla shown on the left. Nor could it be otherwise, since it is the only known white gorilla!
Another famous albino animal is the alligator Claude, which can be admired at California Academy of Sciences from San Francisco. He even has a page on Facebook! Albino alligators are extremely rare – about 1 in 100,000 eggs 4)”Albino Animals” by Kelly Milner Halls, book published by Millbrook Press in 2004. They are even harder to find because they can only survive for a day in the wild. Lack of UV protection is destructive to them. Claude is very lucky: he was found on time and has optimal conditions for survival.
And a koala is very popular among albino animals. This one lives in the San Diego Zoo and is called Onya-Birri (boy ghost, as the Australian Aborigines called him.). Stories have been told about other such koalas by various people and it is known that there are such specimens in the wild, but he alone could be studied by researchers.
Undoubtedly, the peacock is one of the most beautiful creatures. Even white, lacking its shiny colors, it remains a spectacular sight. Although rare, there are several white peacocks, but most are leucistic. Albino peacocks are extremely rare. Regardless of the genetic abnormality, white peacocks look almost the same and they have the same existential problem: they mate with more difficultly. Peacocks see ultraviolet 5)”What a peacock sees when it looks at a potential mate – and what your dog actually sees when you throw a ball” by Rob Waugh, article published in Daily Mail on july 3, 2012- they practically do not distinguish between the colors they have, but those “eyes” of the plumage are significant in courtship. The white peacocks, however impressive their plumage may be, does not have the “charming” pattern.
White horses can often be seen. Then you ask yourself: Can horses be albino?! Yup. And you can even see the difference. Especially in their eyes.
Even if it’s “stinky”, the skunk is such a cutie and has a great personality. But what’s left to it if it’s all white?!
Albino snakes have no chance of survival in the wild. Simply because the sun burns them. They realize this and try to take shelter, but their tissues are already seriously affected. Like when you stay too long on the beach. Only that snakes do not really get to the ER.
White bunnies are virtually a symbol of cuteness. Anyone have seen one, even in a picture. In particular, rabbits are animals who exhibit albinism frequently. For example, the entire breed of New Zealand White rabbits has albinism 6)”Simple Beauty: In Praise of the New Zealand White” by Suzanne Rubins, but there are also other breeds. As they multiply in the farms, you realize that there are so many!
Without their natural camouflage, albino turtle chicks are an easy prey. Speed does not help and the shell is not sufficiently protective. So it’s extremely rare that one can find an albino turtle in nature.
Axolotl, also known as Mexican walking fish, is a bizarre creature. But this underwater salamander is even more bizarre when it preserves its whitish color. In cases of albinism, its eyes are golden; in cases of leucism, its eyes are black.
This fish only has some similarities with alligators without being related to them.(Unless he had any lost relatives in the family tree.)
African clawed frog
The imposing feline sometimes makes their appearance in white. Although not common, there have been several specimens of white tigers. But usually they are not albino – it’s just a depigmentation, black bars remain visible (to the delight of viewers). In fact, there exists only one documented meeting with albino tigers: in 1922, when two specimens were killed in Bengal 7)”The genetics of the white tigers of Rewa” by Ian W.B. Thornton, K.K. Yeung andK. S. Sankhala, article published in Journal of Zoology in May 1967. However, there are cases of white tigers so depigmented, that hardly a trace of color is observed.
It should be a black bird, as the name say it. But sometimes it can be white too!
King of the animals could not miss the opportunity to expand its dominion over the creatures that are white too. But to speak the truth, albino lions are extremely rare. Most famous ones are the so-called “white lions” who appear in the Timbavati region of South Africa. They are leucistic with different light shades, sometimes almost white 8)”White lion” in Wikipedia.
Different animals can sometimes be seen in white, even if it’s not typical, but without albinism or a similar anomaly. For example, dingoes rarely have the fur completely white, usually with only white parts. Or flamingos, whom everyone knows to be pink, actually are white and become pink because of a diet rich in carotene; a white flamingo is just a hungry flamingo 9)”Flamingo“in Wikipedia.
Surprise bonus: When you see black in front of your eyes
Can you withstand?! You must persist a little – even if you see black before your eyes!
The opposite extreme of albinism is melanism. Melanin is present so much, that it makes everything black.
The king of melanism – the most well-known animal with this feature – is the Black Panther. The term panther indicates not an animal species, but a whole family of cats: leopard, jaguar, tiger and lion (yes, even the lion is a panther – scientific name is Panthera Leo). Therefore, in Asia and Africa, black panthers are leopards, and in the Americas are jaguars.
A melanistic animal that’s easy to find is the black wolf. This is not a separate species, but just a gray wolf. Studies show that black wolves came into being as a result of hybridization with dogs 10)”Molecular and Evolutionary History of Melanism in North American Gray Wolves” – study by Tovi M. Anderson, Bridgett M. vonHoldt, Sophie I. Candille, Marco Musiani, Claudia Greco, Daniel R. Stahler, Douglas W. Smith, Badri Padhukasahasram, Ettore Randi, Jennifer A. Leonard, Carlos D. Bustamante, Elaine A. Ostrander, Hua Tang, Robert K. Wayne, Gregory S. Barsh, published in Science on March 6, 200911)”The Wolves of Mount McKinley” by Adolph Murie, book published by University of Washington Press in 1944. It is interesting that when a black wolf mates with a gray one, the cubs are rather black. In some forests, black wolves have become dominant by number – the anomaly now becomes normality.
The melanistic squirrel is a shocking appearance. She looks as if she played all night in a coal bucket. At how many mixed feelings it gives you, one wonders how come no one has turned her into a symbol of darkness yet.
Melanistic snakes have an addition of sobriety. It’s like they put black suit and gown and say: Let the conccccert sssstart!
In case you didn’t get it yet: If you click on any picture, it will be enlarged.
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References [ + ]
|1, 4.||↑||”Albino Animals” by Kelly Milner Halls, book published by Millbrook Press in 2004|
|2.||↑||”Macropod Husbandry, Healthcare and Medicinals” by Lynda Staker, book published in 2014|
|3.||↑||”Snowflake (gorilla)” in Wikipedia|
|5.||↑||”What a peacock sees when it looks at a potential mate – and what your dog actually sees when you throw a ball” by Rob Waugh, article published in Daily Mail on july 3, 2012|
|6.||↑||”Simple Beauty: In Praise of the New Zealand White” by Suzanne Rubins|
|7.||↑||”The genetics of the white tigers of Rewa” by Ian W.B. Thornton, K.K. Yeung andK. S. Sankhala, article published in Journal of Zoology in May 1967|
|8.||↑||”White lion” in Wikipedia|
|10.||↑||”Molecular and Evolutionary History of Melanism in North American Gray Wolves” – study by Tovi M. Anderson, Bridgett M. vonHoldt, Sophie I. Candille, Marco Musiani, Claudia Greco, Daniel R. Stahler, Douglas W. Smith, Badri Padhukasahasram, Ettore Randi, Jennifer A. Leonard, Carlos D. Bustamante, Elaine A. Ostrander, Hua Tang, Robert K. Wayne, Gregory S. Barsh, published in Science on March 6, 2009|
|11.||↑||”The Wolves of Mount McKinley” by Adolph Murie, book published by University of Washington Press in 1944|