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Pictures: Albino Animals Revealed

A white humpback calf made for a, well, whale of a surprise for one boater recently near Australia‘s Whitsunday Island.

“We were just drifting when I noticed the smaller whale in the pod was white. I couldn’t believe my eyes, and I just grabbed my camera,” Wayne Fewings said in a statement issued by the government’s Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

“Then the white calf approached my boat, seeming to want to check us out. I was just so amazed at seeing this animal. …”

The weeks-old calf, likely born in northern waters of the Great Barrier Reef (see regional map below) lacks melanin pigment in its skin, according to Mark Read, species-conservation manager for the Australian agency.


Map courtesy National Geographic’s “The World” iPad app

An animal that does not produce melanin, resulting in little or no color in the skin, hair, and eyes, is considered an albino.

“To speculate on the animal’s parents is difficult, but what we can say is that this calf is the offspring from two animals that were carrying the white [melanin-lacking] gene, resulting in this unique white calf,” he said in the statement.

(See another picture of an albino right whale calf taken in 2008.)

Read suspects there are about 10 to 15 white humpbacks in the region’s population of between 13,000 to 15,000 animals. Albinism occurs across nature, as well as in humans. There are albino toads, cows, gorillas, bats, alligators—even plants, including the redwood tree.

With such a striking lack of color, surviving in the wild is difficult for albino animals—for instance, albino alligators make an obvious target for predators, and most are eaten before they reach adulthood.

That’s part of the reason why albinos often end up in zoos around the world—and some are even considered valuable. In 2008, for instance, smugglers in Brazil nabbed seven albino alligators, at the time valued at about U.S. $9,700 apiece, according to the Associated Press.

Albinos are not to be confused with animals that have extremely rare genetic aberrations that make them white.

Take the spirit bear (also known as the Kermode bear), a white variant of the North American black bear that lives in Canada’s Great Bear Rainforest and was featured in the August issue of National Geographic magazine. (Though, as the writer points out, the bear’s white fur is “more like a vanilla-colored carpet in need of a steam cleaning.”)

White tigers and lions, often seen in zoos, are also in this category. Because the propagation of white tigers in captivity requires inbreeding, their presence in zoos, parks, and theaters is controversial among animal-welfare groups, National Geographic News reported in 2009. (See a picture of a white tiger diving underwater in 2009.)

As for the white calf spotted near the Great Barrier Reef, Read told Agence France-Presse that Australia has no plans to name the rare animal.

“We’d be pretty comfortable for him or her just to simply remain anonymous,” Read said, “and just live out its life in relative peace and harmony.”

Read more National Geographic News stories about albino animals (and one that’s just whiter than most) :

Picture: Albino Pygmy Monkey Twins Born

Picture: Albino Alligator Makes Zoo Debut

Picture: Albino Baby Turtle

Picture: Rare White Giraffe Spotted in Africa

Picture: “Ugly” Albino Ratfish Captured

Comments

  1. someone
    us
    February 22, 1:16 pm

    this is bad if they have to live in the wild because the white color makes it easier to get seen by predators and the color it self is a sign of weakness so more predators will attack it. It is usually born really weak too.

  2. blaaa
    new york
    February 11, 9:31 am

    mutations are cool!

  3. [...] Another condition that creates white coloration in animals is albinism, which occurs when an animal produces no melanin at all throughout its entire body. (See pictures of albino animals.) [...]

  4. Blixiris
    December 23, 2012, 5:46 pm

    The peacock is a beautiful shade!
    Though the albino animals probably have a more difficult time hiding from predators, they look wonderful.

  5. [...] One way to find out would be to see if Iceberg’s eyes are pink and unpigmented—a sure sign of albinism, Hoyt said. (See pictures of albino animals.) [...]

  6. [...] • To see more photos of unusual white animals, click here. [...]

  7. [...] (See pictures of albino animals.) [...]

  8. [...] (See pictures of albino animals.) [...]

  9. Simon
    June 15, 2012, 2:04 pm

    That albino toad looks familiar but I don’t know where I would hav- ALL GLORY TO THE HYPNOTOAD

  10. Bethany Miller
    Midlothian Va.
    May 12, 2012, 2:21 pm

    There are three ways for those animals to be changing
    from there natural color to white.One reason is there could be oil being flooded into the ocean,two tons of garbags or other toxens could be doumped into the ocean and the third reason would be that the animals are breding with other forms of animals like them selves just diferent for exsample a brown bear would bread cubs with a polar bear
    that is alot more an likely but it might happen in extreme casses.

  11. BH
    Winnipeg,Manitoba
    April 25, 2012, 11:32 pm

    You missed the Spirit Bison at Assinnaboin Zoo,
    Snowball and Blizzard.

  12. Betty
    Deaver, Wyoming
    November 22, 2011, 3:56 pm

    Beautiful and very interesting pictures!

  13. mido
    123456789
    November 16, 2011, 2:27 pm

    halloooooooooooooooooo

  14. wild dolphin6
    florda
    November 16, 2011, 9:22 am

    these animals are amasing

  15. oriza rizza patricio dosabas
    November 14, 2011, 5:38 am

    =) hahaha

  16. non of ur busines
    idk
    November 9, 2011, 3:01 pm

    o.o

  17. 12: FUN FACT OF THE WEEK « Eva♥
    November 9, 2011, 11:25 am

    [...] SEE PICTURES OF ALBINO ANIMALS CLICK HERE: http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2011/10/06/weird-wild-pictures-albino-animals-revealed/ Advertisement Eco World Content From Across The Internet. Featured on EcoPressed Simple [...]

  18. mohamed
    mauritania
    November 5, 2011, 12:02 pm

    good morning
    i like to receive all pictures of nature.

  19. Nydz
    Phil.
    October 30, 2011, 2:11 am

    What a wonderful creature..

  20. kdener
    mexico
    October 25, 2011, 5:37 pm

    kool stufff doggg thats off the chain

  21. loveth
    Abuja Nigeria
    October 25, 2011, 9:11 am

    I was very happy to see the usually animal it is wonderful creature of God. but i want no the i can one if it is armful to human life.

    Thank Ur for the picture

  22. kylie
    October 21, 2011, 9:44 am

    our football team and track team calls me the albino girl…im not tho, i have red hair and green/orange eyes….but im SUPER WHITE! i love albino animals

  23. Eugene Loven
    Bellefonte,Pa.
    October 19, 2011, 3:33 pm

    Please send this to my email address so I can share this story.
    I am a 63 year old man with albinism
    thank you.
    Great photos..

  24. Rina
    October 18, 2011, 5:06 am

    OMG… Beautiful…..

  25. Yesteeyear
    October 17, 2011, 5:11 pm

    The white peacock is beautiful!

  26. mp19
    philippines
    October 17, 2011, 8:25 am

    Very interesting T.Y for sharing

  27. sham dande
    Aurangabad (M S) INDIA
    October 17, 2011, 3:04 am

    I am excited while watching ,
    It was only possible because of
    Nat Geo & it’s team’s
    UNTIRING CONSISTENT efforts
    Billions &billions Thanks

  28. Jessie Pantilgone
    Philippines
    October 15, 2011, 5:31 am

    the albino alligator is so cool..
    and in the Philippines “lolong” the biggest salt water croc. is cool too..

  29. Irina
    US
    October 15, 2011, 12:16 am

    I had 2 black rabbits. The female had 7 black babies. And 1 albino!

  30. m.p.e.
    usa
    October 14, 2011, 10:20 pm

    I love the albino peacock. if you love peacocks, say i!
    I! I! I! I! I! I! I! !I! I!

  31. harmeet sigh
    ludhiana
    October 14, 2011, 5:26 am

    pictures are awesome

  32. chen
    china
    October 14, 2011, 1:42 am

    it’s amazing

  33. Steven Johnnyson
    South Whittlesea
    October 12, 2011, 12:00 am

    Cool stuff

  34. Nailah Bateh
    Brooklyn
    October 10, 2011, 3:53 pm

    Beautiful!Thanks for sharing, wish there were more!

  35. Molly
    Pennsylvania
    October 10, 2011, 2:42 pm

    There is an albino deer who lived on my parents’ land in PA. It was gorgeous, and I was able to see it a few times while I was visiting them and was able to snap a few pictures. It was beautiful!

  36. SA
    New Zealand
    October 9, 2011, 7:57 pm

    hey, that is really cool!
    very interesting, thanks for sharing.

  37. Patricia Froude
    Newcastle, N>S>W>
    October 9, 2011, 6:32 pm

    Absolutely all beautiful, freak’s of nature, to veiw a peacock like this there is one at Avondale farm in the hunter . Every form of god’s creature’s are wonders, let alone the albino’s but a rare beauty to be seen. thank you.

  38. Shuva
    Singapore
    October 9, 2011, 9:29 am

    Really beutifull picture.

  39. Penny
    London
    October 8, 2011, 7:37 pm

    to KD – you obviously did not read the article under the “white bull” (as per caption) that said the bull was from the Charolais breed. It was never labelled as an Albino.

  40. Matthew
    Roy
    October 8, 2011, 7:15 pm

    ALL HAIL THE HYPNO-TOAD!!!

  41. thao
    October 8, 2011, 5:49 pm

    some of these animals are leucistic, not albino, since their eyes have the normal color.

  42. Adolfo
    monclova coahuila Mexico
    October 8, 2011, 5:32 pm

    Congratulations.! Very very nice yours pictures Miss.

  43. Spike
    England
    October 8, 2011, 5:15 pm

    HYPNO-TOAD!!!!

  44. Spike
    England
    October 8, 2011, 5:13 pm

    Hypno-toad!

  45. Rosie Collins
    England
    October 7, 2011, 2:14 pm

    It was really interesting to see these unusual animals but I am saddened by the idea of animals kept in capitivity, and especially for the poor alligator who can’t go out into the sunlight, i can’t imagine never being able to feel the sunshine on my body or being able to roam in nature when I want to.Also keeping and breeding these animals who can’t have any sort of normal life just for us to look at is not a good idea.

  46. KD
    October 6, 2011, 5:07 pm

    The “albino bull” from Texas? I’m rather certain it’s actually a Charolais bull, which is a breed of cattle characterized by its light colored coat and curls on the face, that is being raised with a herd of Black Angus cattle.