Fragile sent us this announcement, that a white alligator is back on display at the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas which reopened on May 26 for the first time since Hurricane Katrina. The gator has brown eyes and is therefore leucistic (an albino would have no eye pigmentation, and the blood flow to the eye would make it appear pink). The zoo has ten male leucistic gators.
My husband and I once went to that aquarium and thought it was fabulous. Then walked through the mall area. Great mall, but what I remember is the flooring. It was end-grain wood tiles. It looked great. Red said it would wear forever. We looked for a long time to find some for our home, and even talked of taking crosscut wood slices and having them finished and urethaned. Ah well, I digress.
Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo also has white alligators, along with a short question and answer tutorial about them. White alligators are threatened by the sun, and a leucistic alligator in the wild would probably be severely sunburned. The color would also be a distinct disadvantage in hunting as it would make them have just a wee bit harder time blending with the background. It would also make them more susceptible to predators. I don't know what predators a gator has other than man. Maybe they get stomped by hippos.
In Columbia, South Carolina, a couple of brothers who captured a white alligator have been charged with taking and possessing an American alligator, under a law designed to protect endangered species. Though I read recently that alligator populations have burgeoned under the protection. That sort of stuff is in the news in Florida all the time these days.
Fragile informed us that she saw one of the New Orleans alligators when he visited San Francisco: "Still, when I saw Antoine Le Blanc and his pretty blue eyes, I was enchanted by his smile...and very glad shatter-proof glass separated us." (In a good blockbuster movie, Frag, it wouldn't help at all.)
She also sent us this link to a page with pictures of other leucistic and albino animals. Weird and beautiful.
How'd you like to run into one of those bad boys in the dark?
[White Alligator from Yahoo News]