7 Famous Albino Animals

Albino alligator swimming under water

Anastacia12182 / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Albinism is a congenital disorder that robs the skin, hair and eyes of color. Albinos are extremely pale and as such, suffer from sunburns and skin cancers more frequently than non-albinos. The lack of eye pigmentation can also cause problems. Human albinos often require surgery or wear corrective lenses.

Albino animals face almost insurmountable odds when they're born in the wild. Baby albinos are seen as an oddity within their own species and are more visible to predators. These animals may also be cursed with imperfect vision or other health problems.

Those lucky enough to be born in a zoo can look forward to a relatively comfortable life. Here are several amazing famous albino animals.

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Pair of White Giraffes

Rare white giraffe

CatersClips / Hirola Conservation Programme/YouTube

One white giraffe is a rare sight, but recently a pair of them — a mother and calf — was spotted strolling in eastern Kenya on the Ishaqbini Hirola Conservancy. They're leucistic, according to the Hirola Conservation Program, which manages the area. That's why the baby has a little coloring left on its neck.

"They were so close and extremely calm and seemed not disturbed by our presence. The mother kept pacing back and forth a few yards in front of us while signalling the baby giraffe to hide behind the bushes — a characteristic of most wildlife mothers in the wild to prevent the predation of their young," the conservation program wrote on its blog.

See them for yourself in the video below:

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Snowflake the Gorilla

Snowflake - Barcelona Zoo White Gorilla

Photo: Ettore Balocchi / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Snowflake the gorilla arrived at the Barcelona Zoo in the mid '60s to great fanfare, including an official reception thrown by the mayor of the city. Snowflake was captured by a farmer in Equatorial Guinea under tragic circumstances — the farmer killed all the gorillas in Snowflake's group just to capture him. He was found clinging to his dead mother's fur.

Through a series of middlemen, Snowflake found his way to the Barcelona Zoo where he settled into a comfortable life. He went on to father 22 babies, none of which were albino.

In September 2003, the zoo announced that he suffered from a rare form of skin cancer (most likely caused by his abinism). Thousands of visitors came to pay their respects before he was euthanized a month after the announcement.

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Claude the Alligator

Albino Alligator

Brocken Inaglory / Wikimedia Commons / CC By-SA

Claude the alligator is the most famous resident of the California Academy of Sciences. Born in captivity in Florida, he now spends his days splashing around The Swamp, his little corner of the academy.

For a few years he shared the space with another gator named Bonnie, but that ended when Claude, whose weakened albino eyes made him prone to bump into things (and other gators), provoked Bonnie into biting him on the foot. After Bonnie was shipped back to Florida and Claude recovered, he was reintroduced back into The Swamp.

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Rescued Albino Orangutan

Albino Orangutan

Video Screenshot / BOS Foundation - Alba has returned to the forest!

This extremely rare albino orangutan was rescued from a village in the Indonesian part of Borneo. The 5-year-old female, later named Alba, was being held in a cage by villagers, and the dried blood visible on its nose may have been from attempting to fight free from the villagers.

The Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF) said in a statement that in its 25 years of existence, it had never taken in an albino orangutan to its rehabilitation center, where workers were being cautious in their care of the orangutan. She demonstrated sensitivity to light, and she is showing "wild behaviors." After she received a full medical evaluation, the BOSF began the process of determining the best possible paths forward for the orangutan's conservation and protection.

And those efforts paid off. In December 2018, Alba was released in a national park in Indonesia, along with Kika, a female orangutan with whom she had become friends.

You can watch their release in the video below.

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Snowdrop the Penguin

Snowdrop penguin

Arpingstone / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain

You'd think albino penguins would be more common since they spend so much time in the snow. (If you're going to be an all-white animal, what better backdrop could you find?) Of course, nature doesn't work that way.

Snowdrop the penguin was one of the few albinos that made it to adulthood. He was born at the Bristol Zoo in England, and was accepted by his clutchmates unconditionally.

Sadly, Snowdrop only lived for a couple of years before dying suddenly in August 2004.

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Migaloo the Humpback Whale

Migaloo the Humpback Whale

Rob Dalton / Getty Images

Migaloo the albino humpback is well-known in Australia where he regularly travels along the country's east coast during migration season.

First spotted in 1991, Migaloo is the world's only known albino humpback. He has been seen nearly every year since his discovery, and he even has his own website and Twitter account, where you can follow along with the most recent sitings of this amazing animal.

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Mocha Dick the Sperm Whale

Moby Dick Illustration

Augustus Burnham Shute / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain

Mocha Dick was another famous white whale. This ferocious fighter was so well-known to 19th-century whalers that he inspired Herman Melville's classic, "Moby Dick" (pictured).

Mocha was an albino sperm whale that reportedly survived more than 100 encounters with whalers before he was eventually killed. He was docile when unprovoked but would turn into an aggressive fighter when attacked, using his body to smash the boats of those who sought his blubber.

He was killed in 1838 after coming to the rescue of a cow that had just lost a calf to whalers.