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Albino Animals at Timbavati Wildlife Park

By Chris Taylor Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Greetings Timbavati Friends and Family members! This week I wanted to take a look into albino animals. Something that isn’t commonly discussed but all too often recognized in the animal kingdom; “albinism.” At first glance an albino animal is typically discussed interchangeably with a white animal. A white tiger is white not an albino, same goes for a white emu which was introduced to Timbavati Wildlife Park in 2016.

These animals become exclusively bred with other white animals for purpose of creating that perfectly white animal. I hear there’s talk of a mostly white tiger cub that was born recently and that cub if completely white would be very rare because most white animals still have natural markings that break that color up.

Looking At Albino Animals

An albino animal has a mutation in one of several genes. These genes are responsible for the production of melanin which gives skin and eyes their color. Not all albinos are pure white as some may still have other colors. What makes an animal albino or qualifies it if you will is a loss of pigment in the eyes.

An albino animal’s eyes will have a loss of pigment as well and most often turn pink. An albino animal typically will have poor vision. The same goes for humans with albinism. An albino animal can also have pale blue eyes as well. Like we discussed with the tigers and the emus a polar bear, snowshoe hare, and arctic fox aren’t albinos, the eyes don’t fit the description.

Albinism can be a double edged sword for animals who are typically lower on the food chain. If  a squirrel isn’t squirrel colored would a predator still recognize it as a meal? Maybe not, this might cause it to get off the hook. However, if a bird doesn’t display the correct plumage would a mate find it attractive?

Regardless of these and other interesting facts. We think the diversity in nature is a marvel to be appreciated. This week’s video gives us a glimpse into the world of our own albino kangaroo. Talk with you next week!

 

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