Oct 10, 2008

Albino Alligator

Kat took this picture of the albino alligator at the new California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, CA. Let this post be a plug for the new museum, and for albino alligators everywhere.

The word 'albino' comes from the Latin word albus, which means 'white' (you Harry Potter fans are excited now, aren't you?). The word alligator comes from a corruption of the Spanish word for lizard, which is el lagarto (all of you Florida Gator football fans are excited now, too--maybe not).

Albinism isn't terribly uncommon in the animal kingdom (among humans, about 1 in 17,000 will be albino), but survival into adulthood for those who inherited these recessive genes is. It's hard to go unnoticed in the wild with white flesh/hair/scales. Typically, going unnoticed equals becoming food.

Trivia for the day: albinism is defined by a lack of melanin. Leucism is defined by a reduction of all skin pigments, not just melanin. Leucism is often bred into pets, like cockatiels and snakes. I once had a leucistic cockatiel who had night frights. Mothra (my cockatiel) found a better home than I could offer her.


Anonymous said...

I *love* reptiles and this one is GORGEOUS. I love how he is lying down all comfy and want to play with his toes.

Anonymous said...

Around my farm in NJ, we have a small collection of white squirrels (white grey squirrels, if that makes sense). I'm amazed how long they've survived with all the hawks, eagles, and owls around, but they seem to flourish. I like squirrels and seeing these guys bounding around is a real hoot and holler. They just crack me up.

Anonymous said...

just so you know... hes not albino. he's lusistic. there is a difference. sorry if i seem snappy but i work at a zoo.

Ashley said...

it looks really cool. at firt i thought it was skinned O_o. but i looked at it and saw it wasnt.