Experts and residents alike from Hanahan, South Carolina are confused as to why this alligator specimen seems to be exhibiting an orange/rusty body color, something not commonly seen in the species as a whole.
Image Credit: Leroy Burnell/The Post & Courier/AP
Its unique properties have given the alligator quite the attention across social media this week, turning heads from animal experts and animal lovers around the world. All in good fun, it has jokingly been nicknamed “Trimpigator” by the locals as a result of its unique skin tone.
Residents say that the nearly 5-foot alligator has been spotted a myriad of times near a retention pond in the area, but it’s not well understood how it came to become this color. Most alligators are of a green/brown mix in terms of body color.
Some experts believe that environmental factors could have played a role in its unique color. For example, the water that the alligator resides in could be contaminated with a certain kind of algae or chemical pollution that is ‘dying’ the alligator’s skin.
Another explanation could be that the alligator was hiding inside of a steel culvert during the winter, and rust oxide from the steel could have infused with the animal’s skin tissue.
Experts also think that when the alligator inevitably sheds its skin in the future, the strange color could become a thing of the past. It’s always possible, however, that the coloration is more than just one layer deep.
It’s not every day that an alligator of this color gets spotted, but it’s not the only time this has ever happened. Citing Live Science, there was reportedly once a similar mystery enveloping an alligator in Venice, Florida.
It’s probably likely that we will continue to see oddities in alligators in the future, considering that the world is full of surprises; but will they always be orange? – Only time will tell.