Amazing Albino Animals We Didn’t Know Existed
Who hasn't gone to the zoo and caught their breath at the sight of a white tiger or ivory-toned alligator? Aside from looking crazy cool, albino animals are so rare that seeing them is a treat.
The inherited mutation can appear in all kinds of animals. These are the most impressive examples of albinism we've discovered so far.
Genes Are Wild, Aren’t They?
Albinism is a recessive trait, which means it only shows up visibly when two copies of the gene are present.
Two Pretty Best Friends
How cute are these two? Interestingly, even if they had a litter of baby skunks together, the odds of the offspring being albino are very low.
Both parents would have to carry a copy of the albinism gene, and even then, most of their babies would likely have a normal phenotype.
Albino Hedgehogs Are One of the More Common Albino Pets
Like all albino animals, this albino African pygmy hedgehog is very rare. Its owner didn't seem to care, however, giving it away to an animal rescue in Essex in the United Kingdom.
The center named the critter Extra, and it has a hedgehog buddy named Elsie to keep it company.
The Urge to Pet This Albino Porcupine Is Overwhelming
Good news. You can pet porcupines, just with a great deal of caution. Their bellies are free of spines, so that's a good place to pick them up.
They can be kept legally as pets in many states, too.
All Kinds of Albino Reptiles Are Bred for Their Looks
Albino reptiles are popular for their unusual looks, but do your research before purchasing a cool-looking snake or lizard at a reptile expo.
An albino Burmese python like this can grow to well over 14 feet.
Forget Unicorns. Blue-Eyed Zebras Are Way More Unusual
Albino zebras are so rare that they've only been confirmed to exist in captivity.
Some partially albino zebras, however, live on a private reserve in Mount Kenya National Park.
Albino Elephants Are More Peach-Toned Than White
Many albino animals aren't actually white. This baby elephant lacks melanin, but it still looks peachy-pink thanks to the blood running through its veins.
The darker areas are just from mud, which elephants use to help keep them cool and protect them from bugs and sun damage.
Someone Tell Hedwig He Has Competition
At first glance, one might assume this is a snowy owl, also called an Arctic owl.
It's actually an albino version of a more common species.
You Can Tell Whether an Animal Is Albino or Simply White by Its Eyes
Plenty of animals are white even though they don't have albinism. You can tell the difference by the color of the animal's eyes.
This mouse is clearly albino because its eyes are pinkish-red, while an ordinary white mouse would have black eyes.
Albino Kangaroo or Giant Rat? Hard to Tell
This beautiful kangaroo is yet another stunning albino animal that you should stay far, far away from. Winnie the Pooh didn't tell you the whole story.
Kangaroos might be cute, but they're not cuddly in the slightest. Male kangaroos, in particular, can view people as competition, and their powerful kicks can be lethal.
At the Mice Olympics, Steroid Use Is Getting Out of Control
Poor opossums get bad rap. Albino or not, opossums don't actually carry rabies. They eat tons of other vermin that actually do carry diseases, however.
Maybe we should be sending them a gift basket full of bugs.
The Classiest Trash Panda in the Hood
Who wouldn't want to feed a fluffy, white raccoon? While hand-feeding a snow white trash panda might seem like something out of a fairy tale, it's best to leave them be.
Feeding wild animals, even raccoons, makes them dependent on humans for survival.
Maybe This Baby Is Part Polar Bear
OK, this is just an albino brown bear cub, but polar bear/grizzly hybrids do exist. The cross occurred naturally in the wild due to climate change.
Shifting weather patterns has made it more likely for brown bears, grizzlies, and polar bears to cross paths, so an increasing number of polar grizzlies is likely.
This White Moose Looks Incredible, but Keep Your Distance. Moose Are Way Bigger Than They Look in Pictures
It would be tempting to approach a creature like this for a better photo, but Alaskan moose are much larger and more dangerous than most people realize.
They often surpass seven feet tall at the shoulder, and males can weigh as much as an SUV.
This Albino Bearded Dragon Looks Like Toothless’ Girlfriend From 'How to Train Your Dragon'
Like many reptile species, bearded dragons have been selectively bred for aesthetic appeal.
There are over a dozen bearded dragon color morphs, including albino.
An Arctic Fox, Only Not
Some albino animals are pure white, but it's usually easy to tell an albino animal apart from one that's simply white. For example, this albino fox is white, but its fur has a yellowish tint to it, and its nose is pink.
The arctic fox, which is naturally white, has a coat that's closer to pure white, plus a black nose and dark eyes.
Even Tapirs Can Be Albino
Albinism occurs more often in mammals than in other types of animals. Still, it's pretty rare.
Albinism occurs once in every 10,000 mammal births, on average.
Do Albino Beavers Build Albino Dams?
Albino beavers are uncommon, but they do have a slightly better chance of survival than some other albino animals.
Because they have fur, they have more protection from the sun's damaging rays than, say, an albino elephant, and therefore a lower risk of developing skin cancer.
This Albino Snail Looks Like It Glows in the Dark
While this albino snail sadly does not glow, glow-in-the-dark animals do technically exist.
The technical term is "bioluminescent," and it applies to fireflies, angler fish, jellyfish and some types of bacteria.
Kookaburras Usually Have Black Beaks, but Albino Kookaburras Have Pink Ones
Kookaburras, like this rare albino one, are the biggest of all species of kingfisher.
The birds are native to Australia, and can often be heard calling loudly at the crack of dawn.
Animals of Any Size Can Inherit Albinism
Albinism is found in hundreds of animal species, from tiny hummingbirds to blue whales.
If His Name Isn’t Snowy the Sloth, We’re Suing
This tiny sloth named Ash was brought to the Sloth Sanctuary in Costa Rica after being orphaned.
Rescuers gave her a stuffed animal to prevent her from bonding too much with humans, which would have made it harder to release her back into the wild.
Can We Keep Him?
As mentioned, white animals aren't always albino. This weasel probably is leucistic, not albino, because its eyes are dark rather than pink.
Albino Birds of Prey Are Somehow Even More Intimidating
Albino hawks might look amazing, but their vision is probably too poor to appreciate their own beauty.
Hawks with albinism usually pass away prematurely since their poor vision makes it harder to catch prey.
Albino Hippos Sometimes Have a Mottled Look
Albino hippos have it rough. Melanin protects skin from the sun's harsh rays. Without it, they're prone to developing sunburns and even skin cancer.
We All Hope Our Hair Looks as Good as This Monkey’s When It Goes Gray
Since albinism is a thing in human beings, it makes sense that other primates can have albinism as well.
This macaque lives at a zoo in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
If a Ghostly Tortoise Creeps You Out, at Least It’s Not Hard to Outrun
If having an albino tortoise seems cool instead of creepy, wait until you find out how expensive they are.
Only about one in every 100,000 turtles are born with albinism, and the stats are probably similar for their land-locked buddies.
Buying one from a reputable breeder costs at least $1,500.
Albino Lizards Sometimes Retain Some of Their Yellow Pigment
Interestingly, albino animals aren't always completely colorless. Albinism causes the absence of melanin, but animals have more pigment than just melanin, including xanthin (yellow pigment), erythrin (red pigment) and a few others.
The Completely Colorless Gecko Looks Even Cooler
Albino reptiles that are completely lacking in pigment usually take on a pinkish color, because red blood cells remain red even in animals with albinism.
Yeti? Is That You?
Snowflake the gorilla was the world's first and only albino gorilla. The western lowland gorilla lived at the Barcelona Zoo until his death in 2003.
He passed away in his early 40s due to a rare form of skin cancer that was likely related to his albinism.
Albino Ball Pythons Come in Tons of Unique Patterns
Ball pythons are one of the most popularly kept pet snakes, and one reason for that is how many wild color morphs there are.
Hobbyists have selectively bred snakes with albinism and other genetic mutations to create not only color variations, but also variations in pattern.
Albino Dogs Aren’t Very Common, but They Do Exist
Unlike dog breeds that are naturally white, albino dogs have a total lack of pigmentation. They have no melanin anywhere, so even their nose and paws are pinkish.
If You Think Albino Alligators Look Cool as Babies ...
In 2021, two albino alligators hatched at a zoo in Kenansville, Florida. Their parents, Snowflake and Blizzard, also have albinism.
They’re Even More Stunning When They’re Full Grown
Albino alligators rarely reach adulthood in the wild, for obvious reasons.
A white alligator in a green and brown swamp is an easy target for predators, so they're usually gobbled up before they're large enough to hold their own.
Imagine Going for a Swim and Seeing This
Albinism is rare in all animals, but it has still been found in most animal species. So far, its been identified in 20 different whale and dolphin species.
Albino Dolphins Are Pink?!
Yep, albino dolphins are pink, just like albino elephants and albino hippos. Unlike albino animals with fur, their pigment-less skin is visible.
Without pigment, the red tone of their blood gives their entire body a pinkish hue.
The Most Distinguished Sea Flap Flap of All
In the pet trade, albino snakes are fairly common. Albino sea animals are much tougher to come by, particularly ones that aren't commonly kept as pets.
This Underwater Nope Rope Isn’t Any Less Terrifying in White
Keeping fish in an aquarium is one thing, but serious hobbyists chase more unusual critters to keep.
Pet eels are not for the faint of heart, but some people consider them almost cuddly.
Albino Tigers Are Extremely Rare
As beautiful as white tigers are, the truth behind them isn't quite as pretty. White Bengal tigers do occur naturally, but such an occurrence is extremely rare.
Humans, however, were so entranced by the look that they selectively bred tigers for albinism. Unfortunately, such practices often result in health problems due to lack of genetic diversity.
If We Find an Albino Squirrel in the Yard, We’re Keeping It
White squirrels are very unusual, but entire colonies of them have formed before. They usually don't last long because their light fur is more visible to predators.
Interestingly, not all white squirrels are albino. Most are leucistic, with blue eyes instead of red.
The Albino Peacock Is Iconic
White peacocks are relatively common thanks to selective breeding, but they remain extremely expensive.
One bird typically costs a few hundred dollars, while a pair costs $1,500 or more.
This Albino Giraffe Looks Solid White, but It Actually Still Has Spots
The cool part about albinism is that an animal's pattern is often still visible to some degree. This albino giraffe appears pure white from a distance, but the outline of its spots are visible upon closer inspection.
Mama Lemur Must Have Been Surprised When Her Baby Was Born Pure White
Speaking of patterns, this baby ring-tailed lemur still has a striped tail, just a grayscale version.
Some Albino Animals Have Blue Eyes
Animals can be either pure or partial albinos. Partial albinos have eyes that are either light blue or green instead of pink.
Something About an All-White Lion Is Extra Majestic
As beautiful as they are, seeing one in nature is highly unlikely. Only three white lions are known to exist in the wild.