You ever wondered if the albinism trait also runs in animal genes, well here is an amazing discovery of a cute albino alligator – Pearl of Gatorland.
Ten-year-old pearl is a resident albino alligator at Gatorland in Orlando, Florida, U.S.A, who arrived at the park when she was three years old.
The seven and a half-foot-long, 105lb alligator is no slouch and her pink eyes make it hard to see where she is looking at any one time.
Pearl is termed an albino alligator, due to the complete absence of pigmentation, which gives her white skin and pink eyes.
Gatorland, the ‘Alligator Capital of the World’, is a 100-acre theme park in southern Orlando. Visitors to the park like to come and see a rare albino alligator like Pearl.
Pearl is not the only white gator to have lived at Gatorland, other resident albino gators are Whitie, an alligator that toured Europe nine years ago, and Bouya Blan, who was found deep in a Louisiana swamp.
Bino, another albino breed, famously had to receive acupuncture treatment at his home in Brazil’s Sao Paulo Aquarium after suffering back and leg problems.
The park, which has been open since 1949, is also home to ‘leucistic’ alligators, which are alligators that have dark eyes but also lack pigmentation in their skin.
Interestingly, rare leucistic white alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) are more breathtaking. They’ve been described as ethereal, ghostly and, most frequently, beautiful. They have translucent white skin and deep blue eyes with a hint of pigmentation splashed here and there.
Leucism is a rare condition not to be confused with albinism, which results in pink eyes and no pigmentation at all. The incidence of leucistic gators is probably very rare, although it is hard to say for certain since leucistic young lack protective camouflage coloring and are easy pickings for predators.
Only around three in every million alligators are born with this genetic default. Unfortunately, leucistic alligators and crocodiles are highly desirable when it comes to making expensive handbags.
Gatorland park attempts to combat their slaughter by buying and rescuing alligators from trappers that would kill them for their meat and skin.
Due to their condition, the alligators are usually housed in special enclosures to protect them from sunlight. Their condition also requires they have a bit of Vitamin D which is supplemented in their diet in foods like chicken, fish, red meat and vitamin supplements. Like normal alligators, white gators eat everything from fish and snails to nutria and turtles.
White alligators are not a separate species but are considered extremely rare. There have only been a few documented occurrences of leucistic alligators.
Given the myriad of colors we see in the animal kingdom, seeing a purely white animal can be a little unsettling but a magical experience. Albino animals, as well as rare all-white species and leucistic creatures, are the same as any other animals, but with a coloration that makes them (sometimes literally) one in a million.
Albinism is an umbrella term that covers a variety of genetic pigmentation disorders. Most creatures born with albinism are born with white or pink skin and fur, and some (not all) have reddish or violet eyes as well.
Albinism is associated with poor eyesight and a higher susceptibility to skin cancers, but animals and people with albinism are otherwise no different from their peers. Leucism is a similar condition that can affect a wider array of pigments than albinism does.
Albinism is a well-recognized phenomenon in molluscs, both in the shell and in the soft parts. It has been claimed by some, e.g. that “albinism” can occur for a number of reasons aside from inheritance including genetic mutations, diet, living conditions, age, disease, or injury, however, this is contrary to definitions where the condition is inherited.