SEP 18, 2017 8:41 AM PDT

Rare Leucistic Giraffes Are Spotted and Filmed in Kenya

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

Giraffes are well-recognized creatures because of their iconic long necks, but they're also notorious for having a colored reticulate pattern throughout their fur.

In rare cases, however, a giraffe may appear eerily pale, like the ones illustrated below:

A leucistic giraffe mother walks through the woods with her leucistic calf. A regularly-colored giraffe is also present in the background for color reference.

Image Credit: Hirola Conservation Program/Caters

What you’re looking at here are a couple of leucistic giraffes spotted by a Kenyan villager earlier this year. The photograph shows both a calf and its mother wandering the woods, along with a normally-colored giraffe lurking in the background.

Kenyan conservation rangers captured HD video footage after being tipped off by the villager. They note that you can just barely make out the reticulates in the leucistic calf's fur, which highlights how the disorder more heavily impacted the mother than the calf.

“While observing the magnificent long-necked animal looking at us, I could not help but see the fading reticulates on their skin,” they said. “It was evident that the coloration, especially on the mother giraffe, was not as conspicuous as the baby.”

The creatures appear stark white because their bodies lack a number of pigments that most giraffes have. It's these pigments that give the animals their usual color, but because these specimens lack them, their bodies exhibit an unusual color instead.

Giraffes aren’t the only creatures that can display leucism; many other documented animals are also known to suffer from the disorder, including but not limited to mammals.

Worthy of note, leucism is commonly confused with albinism, and while both disorders are similar in some ways, there’s a significant difference between the two.

Related: Rare case of vitiligo documented in a giraffe

Albino animals lack the lone pigment melanin, which causes pale features in the skin, feathers, fur, and the eyes. On the contrary, leucistic animals have a partial loss of numerous pigments, which impacts the color of similar bodily features, but not the eyes.

Both disorders are disadvantageous for wild animals because many rely on their natural colors to blend in with their surroundings. As you might expect, having bright-white bodies as these leucistic giraffes have makes them bigger targets for predation.

Although leucistic giraffes have been photographed previously, this is thought to be some of the first video footage of such animals ever captured. The major feat is exciting for both animal conservationists and lovers alike.

Source: Hirola Conservation Program via New York Times

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
JUL 29, 2021
Earth & The Environment
US Cattle Lose Genetic Adaptations to Environment
JUL 29, 2021
US Cattle Lose Genetic Adaptations to Environment
Cattle are losing important genetic adaptations to their environment due to a lack of genetic information available to f ...
AUG 22, 2021
Microbiology
Morbillivirus in Fraser's Dolphins May Infect Other Marine Mammals
AUG 22, 2021
Morbillivirus in Fraser's Dolphins May Infect Other Marine Mammals
Scientists are concerned about a virus they've recently identified in Fraser's dolphins. Though the disease has already ...
AUG 29, 2021
Genetics & Genomics
Archaeological Site Reveals DNA Belonging to an Ancient Human Relative
AUG 29, 2021
Archaeological Site Reveals DNA Belonging to an Ancient Human Relative
The Wallacean Islands served as stepping stones for the first modern humans as they migrated from Eurasia to Oceania, pr ...
SEP 09, 2021
Plants & Animals
Hummingbirds Have A Sense of Smell, And Use It To Avoid Danger
SEP 09, 2021
Hummingbirds Have A Sense of Smell, And Use It To Avoid Danger
According to new research published in Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, hummingbirds use an ill-understood sense of ...
SEP 08, 2021
Plants & Animals
Are the skeletons of macaque hybrids distinct?
SEP 08, 2021
Are the skeletons of macaque hybrids distinct?
New research sheds insight into the evolution of the human pelvis by using macaque hybrid models.
SEP 19, 2021
Microbiology
How a Bacterial Molecule Turns Plants to 'Zombies'
SEP 19, 2021
How a Bacterial Molecule Turns Plants to 'Zombies'
Some parasites are known to turn their hosts into mindless servants, or zombies, that only function to serve the parasit ...
Loading Comments...