Sometimes, all it takes is a genetic mutation to utterly transform an animal from being recognizable and commonplace to being something unbelievably rare, exciting, and fascinating. The lack of pigment in these animals makes some of them look like a totally new species.
Whether it’s albinism, the total loss of pigment, or leucism (the partial loss), it’s all totally natural and undoctored, and these birds, reptiles, mammals, and fish are absolutely breathtaking. Although it makes them more easily spotted by predators and more at risk of sun damage to their sensitive skin, these rare creatures are truly enchanting.
1. Alligators rely on their stealth to sneak up on unsuspecting prey in the swamps and bayous as they camouflage with their surroundings. Standing out like this must make it much more difficult to lurk properly.
2. Albino animals are strikingly beautiful, but few could ever match the majesty of this snow white lion. This blue-eyed wonder looks far better suited to life in the Arctic or the Himalayas rather than the savanna.
3. Smaller than kangaroos but closely related, this pair of Bennett’s wallabies are a rarity among albino animals. That’s because they happen to have an entire colony that inhabits a small island off the coast of Tasmania.
4. If you squint just hard enough at this zebra, you might find yourself wondering whether it’s blue and black, or white and gold! Albino animals possess an air of mystery, and this beautiful beast is no exception.
5. When you think of albino animals, chances are, you didn’t expect that this sort of thing might happen. But the natural phenomenon occurs even in the quiet and shy kiwi, New Zealand’s most famous animal. These flightless birds are roughly the size of a chicken.
6. You might want to give this adorable albino koala a squeeze, but you really shouldn’t disturb its peaceful slumber. That being said, koalas are notorious nappers, sleeping at least 18 hours a day.
7. When one of mankind’s closest relatives looks this fabulous, you had better believe he became quite the celebrity. One of the most photographed albino animals in the world, Snowflake the gorilla was a fixture at Barcelona Zoo until his passing in 2003.
8. Entire colonies of the extremely rare Kermode bear, or spirit bear, live in British Columbia. The white variant of this is subspecies of the American black bear is technically not albino, as its eyes and skin have pigmentation.
9. Do not adjust your screen — this albino water buffalo is entirely real. As fanciful as a pink buffalo sounds, it’s a sight to behold. Albino versions of this buffalo’s American bison cousins were considered sacred by a variety of Native American peoples.
10. Partly because of their hilarious awkwardness, and partly thanks to their smart tuxedo-like jacket of feathering, penguins are easily one of the world’s most beloved birds. So imagine the sheer joy when this albino penguin chick was born at the Gdansk Zoo in Poland!
11. While albino animals are devoid of all melanin, the chemical which would have given them coloring, a similar phenomenon exists in nature, called leucism. This means a partial, though not complete, loss of pigment — and this lavish male peacock fanning its pristine feathers has just that.
12. Don’t tread on this rattlesnake, unless you plan on getting some serious nerve damage. Thankfully for intrepid hikers and adventurers, when encountering an albino animal that is dangerous, we have the advantage of being able to spot them far more easily.
13. There are many breeds of white dogs, but finding an albino pooch is a much more specific kind of search. This lumbering Great Dane’s face is a perfect example of what skin and eyes look like when they completely lack pigmentation.
14. If it can happen in humans, then albinism can certainly occur in monkeys. Vervet monkeys, with their black faces and silver bodies, are fairly common in southern Africa, but this one stood out from his troupe.
15. Even though raccoons can make quite a mess as they ransack our trash cans, we are usually inclined to forgive them because of their irresistibly charming markings. But what about this fellow? Still cute?
16. This albino baboon with its signature piglike snout sure seems like it’s up to no good. Fantastically expressive animals, it’s generally best to give them some distance — baboons are not known for having the best temperament.
17. We’re used to seeing cows with their black and white splotched patterns, and perhaps you’ve heard of the Biblical red heifer. But have you ever happened upon a pink cow? This albino animal was spotted with her herd in Laos.
18. If you’ve ever seen a movie that takes place in a jungle, no matter where in the world it’s set, chances are you’ve heard a sound sampling of the unmistakable cackle of the Australian kookaburra. This fluffy member of the crow family looks adorably plump.
19. Some genetic mutations lead to absolute wonders of nature. This Bengal tiger can only be found in the wild in several areas of East India. Tragically, their habitat continues to be destroyed at an alarming rate.
20. Albino ostrich? Think again, and switch continents. This big white bird is called a rhea, known as ñandú in the South American nations it calls home. It is, of course, closely related to its African cousin the ostrich, and its Australian cousin the emu.
21. Unless you live in Australia or Papua New Guinea, chances are, you’ve never seen one of these fantastic creatures before, let alone in white. This albino cousin of the platypus is an echidna, and it is one of two mammals on Earth that lays eggs.
22. This little turtle’s albinism has turned him all kinds of psychedelic colors. It’s fortunate that it can shelter inside its shell, as being that bright and distinct would likely make for a clear target for predators.
23. This cheerful little fellow, contrasted with its chestnut-colored relative in the background, is an albino muskrat. Because of its ability to totally change the vegetation in its surroundings, it is considered an invasive species in some countries.
24. Looking as though it has stepped right out from the pages of Norse mythology, this fallow deer makes for an albino animal of exceptional beauty. This type of deer is ordinarily a tawny color and covered with white spots.
25. Something about its sheen makes this albino animal look that much more curious, but approach with caution. This crested porcupine can be found across north and central Africa, as well as Italy. Its quills are actually hardened hairs.
26. With their incredible cognitive and speech abilities aside, one of the things that so often attracts people to parrots is how bright and colorful they are. But this pair of ring-necked parakeets happens to lack that distinguishing trait due to albinism.
27. Don’t pick up this little snowball – he’s covered with prickles! This bite-sized garden gremlin makes one cute, if slightly unusual-looking, pet. Hedgehogs are a common sight in backyards across Europe, but seeing this albino animal is exceedingly unusual.
28. With that bright pink at the end of its muzzle, it looks this horse has gone and dipped its face in a pot of strawberry yogurt. Not every white horse is albino, but from its eyes to its pale hooves, this marvelous creature is devoid of melanin.
29. Though it may look similar to its cousin the beaver, check out that tail and you’ll see it’s actually a nutria. These South American aquatic rodents have been introduced across the world — and unfortunately, in cold climates, they can get really bad frostbite on that bare tail.
30. Few things can be more majestic contrasted against a fresh snow than the sight of a moose, one of the largest land animals in North America. We have one huge question about this albino animal: what color would its antlers be?
31. Sometimes, the shape of an animal just isn’t enough to discern what it is when it has albino pigmentation and loses its usual signature markings. For example, would you have guessed from first sight that this is a skunk?
32. It’s everyone’s favorite pet tube sock with claws. As if ferrets weren’t sinister enough, this one seems to have evolved the ability to defy gravity altogether. Still, that pink button nose is awful cute.
33. Squirrels can be a divisive subject. Their fans go absolutely gaga for them, but their detractors claim they are merely rats in nice pajamas. If that’s true, then this handsome fellow below had better change those whites before Labor Day.
34. At first glance, this albino baby donkey may make you believe that unicorns really exist. While we can only keep dreaming of such mythical creatures, it’s a safe bet you’ve rarely seen a beast of burden looking quite so radiant.
35. This whiskered aquatic bug is a ghostly variant of a crayfish. While the debate rages on as to whether crustaceans can feel pain, we have to wonder if this character is aware he looks different from the rest of his family.
36. Sure, the appearance of vultures is generally quite ominous, but with those red eyes it just seems that much more menacing. This turkey vulture is leucistic, so it has managed to retain a few spots of pigment on its feathers here and there.
37. Without its racing stripes, this chipmunk is very difficult to distinguish from its cousin the squirrel. Its loss of coloration is not total, however; look closely at its head and you can still see traces of its intended markings.
38. This pair of crows in Malacca, Malaysia are actually mother and child, but it certainly wouldn’t appear that way at first glance. From the way she proudly stays alert to their surroundings, it’s clear that this mama bird loves her albino offspring and is standing watch.
39. That formidable bottom lip looks frighteningly similar to a piranha, but even amateur freshwater aquarium enthusiasts will recognize that this is a species of gourami. And while they aren’t lethal, giant gouramis can bully smaller fish around the tank.
40. Thanks to one daring and famous appearance by Britney Spears, you would be hard-pressed to find someone who has never seen an albino boa before. Would you want to give this sweet serpent a nice kiss on the nose?
41. It would have been entertaining enough to watch hummingbirds dart frantically back and forth, but thanks to their vivid iridescent coloring, they’re truly a spectacular sight to behold. That’s what makes this leuristic Anna’s hummingbird so drastically unique.
42. No, it’s not a direwolf from Game of Thrones, it’s actually much smaller. This sneaky albino animal is a jackal, and it was spotted sauntering around in the desert at nighttime. Swiper, no swiping!
43. Any half-decent Monty Python fan knows that this rabbit is not to be trusted in the slightest. Look past its irresistible coat of snowy fuzz into those red eyes and you will know its true intentions.
44. Thanks to their shockingly bright coloring, when albino animals pop out and say hello, it’s bound to be that much more surprising. Someone must have disturbed this albino catfish when it emerged from under the rock to check out what’s happening.
45. This Antarctic fur seal pup is just too much: just one glance from those doey little eyes is enough to make your heart melt. It has another wild secret, however: it’s not actually albino, but grows into its tawny fur as it gets older.
46. This lady camel chilling out in the Israeli desert had better consider putting on some sunscreen! Lack of pigment can make albino animals that much more susceptible to damage from the sun’s harsh rays, just like it would for humans.
47. This enthusiastic hamster seems to have become just a bit perplexed, and has misidentified the mouse in front of it as one of its own species. You can’t blame it though — neither of them have tails.
48. The sight of an albino baby kangaroo like this one in the wild would even be a rare sight even for Australians who are used to seeing the iconic pouched marsupial.
49. Guppies are known as the beginner fish for children learning how to take care of aquariums. And while this guppy has a variant of albinism, as can be seen in its eyes, apparently it has managed to retain brilliant splashes of pigment in its fins.
50. Be kind to this mockingbird; it would be a sin to make fun of it for not looking like the rest. A common visitor in the southern United States, this species has the distinction of being the state bird in five different states.
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