Nature is home to countless incredible species with unique appearances.
One of the unique traits that always seems to catch people’s attention is an unusual coloration.
Animals that look different from the typical color of their species always get all the attention.
A condition that may cause such intriguing coloration is albinism.
This genetic condition is characterized by a lack of melanin, the pigment responsible for skin coloration in animals.
Albino animals appear to have a pale or white coloration, with distinct pink eyes.
Of course, this poses a lot of unique challenges to these species.
They tend to be highly visible to predators, have poor eyesight, and are susceptible to sun-induced damage.
Despite these hurdles, albinism is an extremely rare phenomenon in nature that people definitely find intriguing.
The mesmerizing beauty of these unique makes them quite fascinating both to scientific researchers and the general public.
This article lists 15 of these incredibly rare creatures that demonstrate nature’s unique palette.
15. Iceberg — Albino Killer Whale
|Artiodactyla, Cetacea, Delphinidae
Occasionally, whale watchers, scientists, and fishermen come across killer whales (orcas) that look distinctively different from their pod.
One example of this is the killer whale nicknamed Iceberg, which has been spotted a couple of times off the East coast of Russia.
The unusual all-white killer whale was seen with its family of about 12 to 13 fish-eating orcas.
Iceberg was the only orca in the group that looked abnormal and is one of a handful of all-white killer whales that have been observed in the wild.
Iceberg was at least 22 years old as of 2016.
It isn’t exactly clear if Iceberg is a full albino or a case of leucism.
Experts think there are at least one in 1,000 all-white killer whales living off the coast of Russia, representing the highest ratio in the world.
14. Bean — The Albino Hedgehog
|Mammalia, Eulipotyphla, Erinaceidae
|United Kingdom (Europe)
An albino hedgehog is not something you’ll see often, considering the fact that they’re only just one in 100,000 of them born with the gene.
In 2020, one eight-week-old individual was found in a garden in Wrexham, North Wales.
The hoglet was rescued by a charity after his mother got killed in a gardening accident.
The total population of hedgehogs in the United Kingdom has declined in recent years, meaning non-pigmented individuals are even rarer than before.
Experts think there are only about 100 of these pale-spined hedgehogs in the United Kingdom, which makes the find in Wrexham quite impressive.
Albino hedgehogs have pale skin and spine, with pink eyes that tend to glow in the dark.
After it was rescued, the male hoglet was nicknamed Bean and kept at the rescue facility until it was old enough to be released back into the wild.
13. White Wallabies
|Marsupialia, Diprotodontia, Macropodidae
A wallaby is a type of marsupial, much smaller than the closely related kangaroo.
They are widespread across various parts of mainland Australia, Tasmania, and Papua New Guinea.
A small population of wallabies live on a small island just south of Hobart, Australia.
The Island known as Bruny Island hosts a population of wallabies renowned for their all-white coloration, evidence of either complete or partial albinism.
Experts think at least 200 white wallabies live on this island.
Albino wallabies and other albino animals tend to be sun-sensitive and vulnerable to predators.
However, the isolated nature of Bruny Island allows this population of wallabies to continue to live and thrive undisturbed.
12. Albino Gentoo Penguin
|Aves, Sphenisciformes, Spheniscidae
Penguins are among the most recognizable birds known for their unique coloration.
The pattern of their coloring might vary slightly, but most species are black and white.
The gentoo penguins found on Hope Bay in Antarctica typically have a black coloration on their backs, while their fronts (except the head) are typically white.
The head may appear like they have a white ear muff on.
Similarly, the top of their wings is typically back, while they have white coloring underneath.
However, mutations can occur, leading to some individuals exhibiting abnormal coloring.
One such instance is the case of a gentoo penguin with barely any black-and-white patterning at all.
The individual appeared like it was completely white, and its beak was redder than usual.
It’s hard to tell if this individual was a true albino or if it was simply leucistic.
What’s clear is that it did have some type of pigment problem.
11. Albino Flap Shell Turtle
|Reptilia, Testudines, Trionychidae
The flapshell turtle is a freshwater turtle species native to India and other parts of South Asia.
This turtle species typically has a dark brown shell with some light brown spots.
However, a handful of flapshell turtles have been known to exhibit albinism.
Only a few of these have been caught on camera.
In 2022, wildlife photographers Manoj Kumar Vittapu and Shravan Kumar Poshetty found a newly hatched flapshell turtle with an unusually pale color and red eyes.
The turtle was found in Telangana in Southern India, near a freshwater pond.
The hatchling was only four centimeters long and three centimeters wide.
Although flap shell turtles can live for up to 18 years, the albino turtle may not survive for that long in the wild.
10. White Cloud — An Albino Buffalo
|Mammalia, Artiodactyla, Bovidae
|USA (North America)
An American bison with white fur is quite a rarity.
In fact, they’re so rare that many native American cultures consider them to be sacred.
Natural albinism only occurs in approximately one in every 10 million bison births.
One of the most famous albino bison was a female born at the Shirek Buffalo Ranch on July 10, 1996.
Nicknamed White Cloud or Mahpiya Ska in the local Sioux language, this albino bison was certified a true albino after genetic tests.
White Cloud was loaned to the National Buffalo Museum located in Jamestown, North Dakota, where she lived for most of her life.
White Cloud lived for roughly 20 years and died on November 14, 2016, at the ranch where she was born.
9. Albino Gray Squirrel
|Mammalia, Rodentia, Sciuridae
|United Kingdom (Europe)
As the name suggests, the gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) naturally has gray or brownish fur.
However, a few individuals have been spotted with distinct white coats.
Such cases can be attributed to genetic defects in the form of albinism or leucism.
In both cases, a lack of melanin means the squirrel will likely have a whitish coat, with albino individuals having pink-colored eyes.
Albino squirrels are quite rare, with only one in every 100,000 births.
It is generally believed that albino squirrels don’t fare well in the wild due to their distinct coloration and poor eyesight.
However, research carried out by scientists Glen Jeffrey and Joana Visa Esteve found that their eyesight is not as defective as initially thought.
They only have a 5% reduction in their vision, which explains why albino squirrels might fare better than other albino mammals in the wild.
8. Albino Blackbuck
|Artiodactyla, Bovidae, Antilopinae
The blackbuck is an extremely rare antelope species found only on the Indian subcontinent.
While a stable population of this antelope lives in the Blackbuck Conservation Area of the Bardia National Park, there are only about 50,000 of them.
Blackbucks typically have a black or dark brown coat on their upper body, while their belly and eye rings may be white.
However, a few individuals are born with a lack of melanin pigment in their coats, giving them a distinct white coloration.
In 2009, two male albino blackbucks were spotted in a grassland close to the Thol Sanctuary.
An albino blackbuck was also kept as a zoo attraction at the Indira Gandhi Zoological Park located in Andhra Pradesh, India.
7. Goolara the Albino Koala
|Marsupialia, Diprotodontia, Phascolarctidae
Albino koalas are quite a rarity.
In fact, there is currently no record of one living both in the wild and in captivity.
Queensland’s Australia Zoo had a white-colored koala in 2017, but this was only a non-pigmented individual, not an albino.
In the 1980s, an albino koala nicknamed Goolara lived at the San Diego Zoo.
The seven-year-old koala was one of the star residents at the zoo due to its rarity, which made it quite popular with visitors.
Goolara had a snowy-white coat, pink paws, pink eyes, and a pink mouth that made it look like it had a permanent smile plastered on its face.
Unfortunately, Goolara died of cancer at the zoo in 1992.
A few years later, the San Diego Zoo got its second albino koala in history when a female named Banjerri gave birth to a non-pigmented joey.
The rare albino koala was born on September 1, 1997, and was nicknamed Onya-Birri, which means ghost boy.
6. Asinara Donkeys
|Mammalia, Perissodactyla, Equidae
The Asinara donkeys are a family of wild donkeys living on the Asinara Island off the northwest coast of Sardinia, Italy.
Approximately 120 individual, fully or partially albinistic donkeys, live on this Island.
The total population of that specific donkey breed is currently estimated to be about 334.
However, a handful of other non-pigmented donkeys are found in other locations across Italy.
The donkeys were abandoned on the Island when the former inhabitants were forced to leave in 1885 and have lived there since then.
Experts think they were likely descendants of white donkeys that were imported from Egypt earlier in the 19th century.
It is also possible that the breed descends from white donkeys imported from Egypt in the nineteenth century.
5. Albino Fishing Cat
|Mammalia, Carnivora, Felidae
The fishing cat (Prionailurus viverrinus) is a wild cat species native to South and Southeast Asia.
There are very few fishing cats in the wild, and the species is currently listed as vulnerable.
Given their limited number in the wild, finding an albino fishing cat is an even more unlikely occurrence.
However, in 2009, a group of researchers found one in a zoo located in Srimangal, a town in Northeastern Bangladesh, while doing research in the area.
The male fishing cat had been living in the zoo for up to 10 years at the time.
It was captured at Hail Haor, Bangladesh, in August 2001.
This is the only documented case of a wild fishing cat and one of the few confirmed cases of albinism in Felids.
4. Migaloo — White Humpback Whale
|Mammalia, Artiodactyla, Balaenopteridae
Migaloo is an adult male humpback whale considered one of the most famous humpback whales in the world.
The all-white whale was first sighted in 1991 while swimming through Byron Bay along with about 35,000 other whales during their yearly migratory journey.
Migaloo is so famous that it has a website of its own, but it is rarely seen.
In fact, the last sighting of this whale was in 2020, and some people think it might be dead.
For many years, experts argued if Migaloo’s white coloration was a case of true albinism or leucism.
In 2012, scientists at the Australian Marine Mammal Center were able to analyze skin samples from this whale, and it was confirmed to be a true albino.
Migaloo is currently the only known albino humpback whale.
However, a white female humpback whale was washed up on the coast of Victoria in 2022.
This caused a scare until experts confirmed that the dead female was not the famous Migaloo.
3. Pinky the Albino Bottlenose Dolphin
|Mammalia, Artiodactyla, Delphinidae
|(USA) North America
In 2007, a pink-colored bottlenose dolphin was spotted in a Louisiana lake.
The rare dolphin had two tell-tale signs of albinism, which included a pinky-red eye and a pale skin devoid of the typical dark pigment of other bottlenose dolphins.
The dolphin was a young calf when it was first spotted in Lake Calcasieu and has grown significantly since then.
Pinky was spotted again in 2015, and the dolphin appeared to be mating,
Two years later, a video surfaced online showing two albino dolphins swimming in the same lake.
This was presumed to be Pinky and her calf.
2. Claude the Albino Alligator
|Reptilia, Crocodilia, Alligatoridae
|USA (North America)
Reptiles are among the animal groups that most commonly exhibit albinism.
Despite this, albino alligators are still quite rare.
In fact, only about 200 individuals are known to be living throughout the world.
The oldest albino alligator that’s still alive today is named Claude.
Claude is an American alligator living at the California Academy of Sciences.
The alligator’s lack of melanin means it has a colorless skin, which makes it distinct from other alligators.
Claude was hatched on the 15th of September, 1995, in Florida.
Due to the apparent dangers of living with albinism in the wild, the alligator was moved to the California Academy of Sciences in 2008.
The large gator weighs up to 222 pounds (101 kilograms) and is up to 2.87 meters (9.5 inches) long.
1. Snowflake — A Western Lowland Gorilla
|Gorilla gorilla gorilla
|Primates, Haplorhini, Simiiformes
Snowflake was a western lowland gorilla that lived at the Barcelona Zoo in Catalonia, Spain.
It was the only known albino gorilla both in the wild and captivity to date.
The gorilla was captured in the Río Muni region of Spanish Guinea in 1996 by a local farmer.
The rest of Snowflake’s family were killed, but the gorilla was kept alive due to its unique coloration.
Primatologist Jordi Sabater Pi initially purchased the unusual gorilla before it was eventually transferred to the Barcelona Zoo.
The gorilla was initially called Nfumu Ngui, which means “white gorilla” in the local Fang language.
However, after Jordi Sabatar purchased it, he was nicknamed Floquet de Neu, meaning “little snowflake.”
Snowflake lived at the Barcelona Zoo until 2001 when he was diagnosed with skin cancer and had to be euthanized.