10 Straight Facts About Albino Animals

Albinism is a congenital condition (present from birth) characterized by partial or total lack of the pigment melanin that gives color to the skin, hair and eyes. This rare condition not only affects humans but also other mammals, birds, reptiles, fish and amphibians.

  • Albinism is not a disease; it is a hereditary condition and thus cannot be transmitted through contact, blood transfusion or any other means.

  • The dark pigment melanin helps protect the skin from ultraviolet radiation from the sun; therefore, animals with albinism can sunburn easily from overexposure. Some albino zoo animals are known to be slathered on with sun block to protect them from the sun’s harmful rays.

  • Albinos’ lack of melanin in the eyes also results in eye conditions such as photo sensitivity. However, their vision is enhanced at night due to the greater amount of light that reaches the retina.

  • Occasionally, the eyes of animals with albinism appear red as it becomes transparent due to the absence of pigment which allows the retinal blood vessels to show through. This is rare in humans as the human eye produces enough pigment to lend opacity to the eye, often coloring the iris pale blue. It’s possible for a human albino’s eye to appear red or purple, depending on the amount of pigment present.

African Pygmy Hedgehog by meantux.

(albino African pygmy hedgehog)

Albino Leopard Frog by Mamoritai.

(albino leopard frog)

Albino Alligator by midiman.

(albino alligator)

  • Albinos are generally as healthy as the rest of their species with normal growth and development as well as capability of reproduction.

  • Due to their hypersensitivity to sunlight, they have a higher risk of skin cancer. A rare albino gorilla died of skin cancer at a Barcelona zoo.

  • The survival rate of albino animals in the wild is usually low as they lack their protective camouflage and thus unable to conceal themselves from predators or prey; most of them rarely reach adulthood.

  • A human albino faces social and cultural challenges; their looks are often a source of ridicule, discrimination or even fear and violence. In the animal kingdom however, albino animals in captivity is a fascination among owners or visitors; in some cultures, it is even believed to bring good luck.

Albino Sqirrel by llamnudds.

(albino squirrel)

IMG_1337 by Few_get.

(albino turtle)

  • The most famous albino animal in the world today is the male humpback whale off the coast of Australia named, Migaloo. He was first spotted in 1991 and recent close up photos have shown him to have skin cancer and/or skin cysts as a result of his lack of protection from the sun.

  • Just because an animal is colored white doesn’t always mean that it is an albino. The rare white peacock is frequently mistaken for an albino when it is in fact a variety of the Spalding Peafowl. The white lion and white tiger are not albinos; they have a different condition known as leucism, a reduction (not a lack) in all types of skin pigment, not just melanin.

White peacock showing off his plumage by be_khe.

* The white peacock is not an albino

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26 Responses to “10 Straight Facts About Albino Animals”
  1. CHAN LEE PENG Says...

    On April 7, 2009 at 4:36 am

    Attractive and great article, thanks!


  2. Bo Russo Says...

    On April 7, 2009 at 4:43 am

    This was really quite cool.I have met a few albinos in my time and they were always pretty cool,I can imagine in the animal world it would be quite a disadvantage as you have stated.I really enjoyed this;as mostly due to the fact when I started getting grey hairs I read all I could about it and while unrelated,it opened my eyes as to the causes of such things and hoe we lose pigmentation as we age.Good show here.


  3. Evelyn Moore Says...

    On April 7, 2009 at 4:50 am

    Great article and lovely images – I once had an albino guinea-pig when I was very young – he was a little strange!


  4. Yovita Siswati Says...

    On April 7, 2009 at 4:53 am

    Very interesting! The albino animals looks cute, but that makes them cannot survive in the wild.


  5. Kate Smedley Says...

    On April 7, 2009 at 6:02 am

    Very good article, it must be hard to be a human albino.


  6. Joe Dorish Says...

    On April 7, 2009 at 6:24 am

    Very interesting article. We had an partial albino deer on the property of a company I used to work for.


  7. Luffy12 Says...

    On April 7, 2009 at 8:52 am

    i like it great animals!


  8. Allana Calhoun Says...

    On April 7, 2009 at 10:43 am

    Nice article. Pointed out a couple things I didn’t know. :-)


  9. The Quail Says...

    On April 7, 2009 at 10:44 am

    Attractive and great article, thanks!


  10. OhSugar Says...

    On April 7, 2009 at 11:38 am

    Great article. I liked all the cute little animals that have not color):


  11. Will Gray Says...

    On April 7, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    Truly fascinating and fantastic pics!!!!


  12. C. S. Robins Says...

    On April 7, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    I have always had a fascination for albinos-animals and people. Thank you for bringing to light that it is only a condition not a disease…and for all the pretty pictures-especially the peacock!


  13. rutherfranc Says...

    On April 7, 2009 at 9:01 pm

    a disadvantage naturally, but a feast of the eyes for us.. thanks for sharing..


  14. R J Evans Says...

    On April 8, 2009 at 8:40 am

    Ah! This subject was on my list of articles to research, so I guess that will have to be crossed off now! Lovely and interesting piece. I hope the two links below will help give it a few more hits!

    http://digg.com/pets_animals/Animal_Albinism_10_Straight_Facts

    http://www.webphemera.com/2009/04/animal-albinism-10-straight-facts.html


  15. S A JOHNSON Says...

    On April 8, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    wow interesting info and great pics.


  16. CutestPrincess Says...

    On April 10, 2009 at 11:32 am

    excellent job, jk! keep up the good work!


  17. ExThesis Says...

    On April 17, 2009 at 11:23 pm

    White peacock looks cool.


  18. Gon pincha Says...

    On April 19, 2009 at 11:05 pm

    AMAZING!
    I loved this article :)


  19. OhSugar Says...

    On May 7, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    Fascinating photos! Great article.


  20. asia Says...

    On May 27, 2009 at 10:32 am

    there cool


  21. Knox Says...

    On October 1, 2009 at 8:32 am

    Im doing a report on albinism. Thanks for the interesting info!


  22. Kaz Says...

    On January 21, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    Great article. The little hedgehog is very cute.


  23. fargal2 Says...

    On October 15, 2010 at 11:14 pm

    couldn’t fine the facts i need
    but its a good article.


  24. angel jackson Says...

    On November 5, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    the withe peacoo is super cute and i have my own facebook at facebook cheack me out on facebook plzzz plzz thxs kk


  25. duckletshut Says...

    On April 2, 2011 at 1:41 am

    we had an albino budgie and ive seen a couple albino ppl where i live — my family had a pic of two deers one albino and one regular color side by side – it was neat !


  26. asdfghjklqwertyuiopzxcvbnm Says...

    On October 11, 2011 at 10:34 am

    I LUV THESE ANIMALS


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