June 1, 2016
Albinism: A Beautiful Inconvenience
- as seen by -Samuel Bozeman
The absence of pigmentation in the natural world is not common, but it can be life threatening. When the pigment melanin is missing, this condition is known as albinism. Lacking natural coloration can make for an easy target, where young would normally have some camouflage from predators and protection from the sun’s harmful rays. Most alligators born albino in the wild do not survive past 24 hours.
An issue of being albino is exposure to the sun. This can be problematic to alligators as they love to bask, but overexposure can lead to burning of the skin. Pigmentation provides protection to the eye, lacking this, eyes deteriorate at a faster rate. As albino alligators get older, they lose sight more quickly than their pigmented counterparts. Zoos that exhibit these alligators have to adapt to these problems when housing such animals.
There are not many adult albino alligators in captivity, but if given the chance, superstition has it that seeing one brings good luck (above, a juvenile American alligator at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm, Florida).
Nikon Coolpix P530