In the animal world, sometimes there are mutant animals such as black or white animals
among the regular colored animals.
There are three different categories I am going to talk about in this piece.
- Melanistic- Which is excess pigmentation in animals resulting in
a black coat, or the appearance of black.
- Albinism- which is the total absence of melanin in mammals. Normally
having characteristically red or pink eyes.
- Leucism- which is recessive coloring with both parents carrying recessive
A black panther is actually a leopard or a jaguar with the rosette patterns blendingwith the excess melanin in the coat of these cats.
Once in a while excess melanin occurs in lion and tiger cubs, as well as a melanistic ocelot.
White tigers are popular wild animals, they are often seen as attractions in circuses, zoos, carnivals and magic shows. They have Leucism rather than albinism.
White tigers are born in litters among orange tigers and vice versa. They have lighter stripes. An interesting fact is the eyes of the white tigers are often yellow with blue irises.
Black squirrels are related to gray squirrels only they are slightly larger. Black squirrels have become quite abundant.
Squirrels are among the cleverest creatures in the animal kingdom. They can be quite amusing to watch.
Albino squirrels are more rare than the melanistic squirrels. There is a population of squirrels in the town of Olenek, Illinois of 800.
Albino squirrels are sometimes bred. Sometimes white and black squirrels are born in the same litter.
Fallow deer are generally reddish brown with white spots. At times melanistic deer are born in herds. Fallow deer are very easily tamed.
Fallow deer were thought to be introduced to Britain by the Normans.
Albino fallow deer are born into herds as well as the melanistic deer. They have a more difficult
time hiding from predators.
More recently, Fallow deer were introduced to the United States, particularly, in Texas.
Only one in 30,000 deer are born albinistic, so it is very interesting that there is a whole herd of them in a state park in Minnesota.
These deer have the characteristic white fur and red eyes.
White stags are considered good omens.
Some animals are bred for certain colors, such as horses. Rather than being an albino this horse is leaucistic ( recessive coloring).
A popular white horse was “Silver” The Lone Ranger’s horse.
I have always liked black horses. Some popular black horses are “Black Beauty” and “The Black Stallion”.
Horses are a large part of American Western culture. In the old west, horses were the main type of transportation.
Arctic foxes are examples of transitional animals. They’re blue-gray to brown during the summer and white in the winter.
There are three different varieities of arctic foxes:
- Bering Islands Fox
- Iceland Arctic foxes
- Pribilof Foxes
Arctic Foxes were hunted for their soft white fur.