I’m sure everyone has heard of albinism before. Every creature – from insects to mammals – makes the enzyme melanin which gives color to the skin/fur/scales etc. Albinism results from inherited recessive gene alleles that result in the absence in or defect of the melanin producing enzyme. Therefore, no (or very little) pigment can be created.
According to Discovery Health, “According to the Missouri Conservationist, published by the Missouri Department of Conservation, at least 300 species in North America have had at least one reported instance of albinism. Researchers observe albinism occurs once out of every 10,000 mammal births.”
Even though these creatures look wonderfully special and elegant, they typically have a harder time surviving in the wild because their natural defense mechanism against predators, camouflage, is eliminated entirely. Chad Staples, a curator at Featherdale Wildlife Park in Doonside, Australia explains, “Their rate of survival is virtually zero,” says Staples. “Predators easily pick them out of a group. Families and social groups can exclude them because to every other member, they look foreign.”
So enjoy these photos, but remember, it’s not easy being an albino animal!