From the Vault - featured items from our collection

Albino Alligator (PN21.32)

Albino Alligator

     One of a number of specimens in the collection, this American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis), is unique in the fact that it was born with little to no pigmentation. The yellow colouring is either from the specimen being leucistic versus albino, or from a treatment applied to the surface. Albino and leucistic alligators are quite rare and generally only seen in captivity as the lack of camouflage makes survival nearly impossible. In captivity there are only about twelve living specimens of white alligator making this, albeit non-living, specimen a valuable rarity.

     Found in zoos around the world, along with its Asian cousin, American alligators also have sizeable wild populations found in freshwater wetlands of the southeastern United States. Adult males average about 4 metres in length and 450 kilograms in weight. Females are smaller, measuring around 3 metres on average. They play an important role in their ecosystems, not only controlling various populations but their ‘alligator holes’ provide habitats for other organisms. Eggs are laid near water or in sheltered areas made of vegetation and mud. Hatchlings are born with yellow bands around their bodies and are protected by their mother during the first year of life.

     This particular specimen was donated to the on 14 November 1976.

Added: April, 2015

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