Rare White Kangaroo Spotted in South Australia

Video highlights from Wild Australia

What causes albino animals?

This white kangaroo sure is one special snowflake.

A South Australian woman captured rare photographs of a possibly albino kangaroo while driving near the Big Bend on the Murray River in South Australia.

But the Bordertown Wildlife Park said it was difficult to know just how rare albino kangaroos were.

 

Doesn't look real does it? But let me assure you that it was a real live albino kangaroo on the side of the road at Big...

Posted by Riverglen Marina Houseboat Hire on Tuesday, February 2, 2016

"Apart from the one we caught here in the early 1970s, this is the only other one I've heard of," committee chair Adrian Packer told AAP.

Albino kangaroos can easily be mistaken for whites which are a genetic strain of the western grey.

"Bar catching it and getting up really close to see if its eyes are red, it's hard to say," Mr Packer said.

From eagles and bears to crayfish and buffalo, white animals are quite often seen in nature. There are three ways this can occur: albinism, leucism, and isabellinism.

True albinos are unable to produce any kind of pigment, hence their white coloration and pink eyes: Blood vessels normally masked by eye colour show through.

Albinism is a recessive trait, meaning both parents must pass the mutation on to their offspring.

Leucistic animals are mostly white but can produce some pigment. For example, many still sport colour in their eyes.

A third condition is called "isabellinism," in which a genetic mutation leaches the colour out of pigmented penguin feathers. Animals that suffer from isabellinism are different from albino animals because they can still produce pigment.

Unusually white animals are prominent in many cultures’ mythologies; for example, many regard the birth of a white animal as a sacred or auspicious event.

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