Whenever we speak about albino animals, we will always think of a white coloured creature. ‘Albinism’ is a condition where a person or an animal is absent of melanin, which gives colour to the skin, hair, feathers and eyes. In most cases, albino animals will be stark white (or pale yellowish for certain vertebrates), unable to camouflage well in the wild.
But do you know, being white does not always mean that an animal is albino? A condition called ‘leucism’ is a partial loss of pigmentation, which causes the animal to own white or patchily coloured skin, hair and feathers. Unlike in albinism, leucism does not affect the eyes so they will maintain normal colours.
Here are several white animals that are not albino:
This white lion was labelled as an albino lion by the unknown photographer who took the picture, but according to Mike and Dorothy Mckenney from Owlcation, this lion is actually a leucistic lion. You can see that its eyes are rather blue instead of pink like in an albino animal.
This little bird has a rather patchful colour of feathers. This kind of appearance is common in animals affected by leucism.
This unique crocodile has completely white scales, but don’t get it wrong with an albino crocodile! It still possessed a colour in its eyes, so it is a leucistic crocodile.
A leucistic owl, staring straight into the photographer’s lens. Animals use the colours in their skin, fur or feathers to blend in well in the wild, but unfortunately for this owl, it is not able to do so. Just like albino animals, most leucistic animals have a hard time surviving in the wild.
It is easy to mistake a leucistic animal as albino. The trick is to look into their eyes!
- Aishah Humaira’ Shamsul Bahrain adalah pelajar Fakulti Filem, Teater dan Animasi.
- Dr. Mohd Syuhaidi Abu Bakar adalah Pensyarah Kanan, Fakulti Filem, Teater dan Animasi.