JUL 09, 2015 11:03 AM PDT

Albino Animals: Standing out from the crowd can be dangerous


Albinism is the term for the condition where humans or animals have a complete or partial lack of any color in skin, hair and eyes. It's caused by a defect in the body's production of tyrosinase, an enzyme that regulates the production of melanin and contains copper. The condition is found in all vertebrates, but since animals have multiple pigmented areas on their body, the albinism must affect the not only the hair, skin and eyes, but feathers, fur and scales as well. For humans the condition can cause photophobia, an acute sensitivity to light as well as make a person more susceptible to sunburn or certain skin cancers.

In nature, when an animal is born with the condition it can greatly impact their survival. In the case of Claude, an albino alligator in the care of the Academy of Arts and Sciences in San Francisco, he would not survive as an albino since his white color would cause him to stand out in the dark murky waters of most swamps. Because albinism is so rare in nature, when an animal is found with the condition, very often they live out their years in a zoo or sanctuary and become celebrities in the animal world. Albinism doesn't always make an animal white. Pinky, an albino dolphin found in Louisiana had pink skin and red eyes, but animal scientists determined that genetically Pinky had albinism
About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
You May Also Like
FEB 10, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Do Salt and Melting Ice Cause Landslides on Mars?
FEB 10, 2021
Do Salt and Melting Ice Cause Landslides on Mars?
Recurrent slope lineae (RSL) are dark flows that extend downhill on Mars to form sandy patterns on its surface. Research ...
APR 07, 2021
Plants & Animals
Scientists Discover a Crab-Dissolving Parasite
APR 07, 2021
Scientists Discover a Crab-Dissolving Parasite
Parasites abound throughout the natural world. While not all of them cause the host's death, this newly discovered p ...
MAY 10, 2021
Plants & Animals
Sharks Can Use Earth's Magnetic Field to Navigate
MAY 10, 2021
Sharks Can Use Earth's Magnetic Field to Navigate
How do sharks make transatlantic journeys without losing their way? New research published this week in Current Biology ...
MAY 13, 2021
Plants & Animals
Brood X Cicadas Are Here - Help Scientists Track Them
MAY 13, 2021
Brood X Cicadas Are Here - Help Scientists Track Them
Download this smartphone app to help document one of North America's natural wonders.
JUL 03, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Size of Planet Iron Core Depends on Star Magnetism
JUL 03, 2021
Size of Planet Iron Core Depends on Star Magnetism
Researchers led by the University of Maryland have found that the sun's magnetic field is the reason behind the larg ...
JUL 08, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Giant Plumes on Saturn's Moon May Hold Signs of Life
JUL 08, 2021
Giant Plumes on Saturn's Moon May Hold Signs of Life
Saturn’s moon, Enceladus, has giant erupting plumes of water that, scientists say, can not be explained by known g ...
Loading Comments...