Albinism is an inherited genetic disorder that results in little or no production of melanin, a natural pigment responsible for the color of the skin, eyes, and hair. Although rare, this condition can affect anyone – it can manifest on people, animals, and even plants. Wild Florida Airboats & Gator Park in Kenansville, Florida recently unveils two albino alligator babies and the hatchlings are just cute beyond words.
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The animal park shared a photo of the two albino alligator babies on Facebook and people are quite stunned by their unique appearance. Although these crocodilian reptiles vary in skin color, dark-skinned gators typically have blackish-grey color while light-skinned gators have olive green or light brown colors. As we said earlier, albinism can also occur in animals, and reptiles are no exception. White-skinned gators are extremely rare and biologists estimate that there are only about 100 existing in the world.
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A gator born with albinism has ivory-colored skin and lightly pink-tinged eyes rather than the usual black-and-green. This genetic condition is the result of a recessive gene which is passed down from the parents to the offspring. But in order for this gene to manifest in the offspring, both parents need to carry it. Wild Florida aims to breed more of these nature’s rarity and fortunately, they have albino gator couple named Blizzard (male) and Snowflake (female) that can help them with that.
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August last year, the full-blown albino alligator couple produced five offspring. But only one of their babies had inherited the albino gene. Exactly a year after, the animal park excitedly announced that the albino gator couple has produced 18 eggs, two of which are now hatched and came out looking like their white-skinned parents. Wild Florida assured everyone that the cute hatchlings are in good health but will require intensive care and nurturing before they can be shown to the public. For the meantime, all we have is the photo showing the adorable albino alligator babies.
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Since albino alligators cannot produce melanin, they lack the camouflage protection that helps them survive in the wild. Furthermore, white-skinned reptiles are prone to severe sunburns because they don’t have the natural skin protection against harmful UV. All these things considered, gators with albinism won’t last long in the wild. Those born in captivity are kept n special enclosures that emulate their natural habitat while sheltering them from direct sun. Hence, albino gators living in parks and zoos tend to live longer than those in the wild.
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The Absence Of Camouflage And Skin Protection Makes Them Unsuitable To Live In The Wild. The good news from Wild Florida should give us more opportunity to set eyes on these rare creatures. Moreover, the two hatchlings were the first to hatch from the bunch of 18 eggs. So, we still have 16 eggs to look forward to.