Unique Albino Alligator Is Florida's New Star
A seven-foot albino alligator with bright white skin and pink eyes is currently stealing the hearts of the Internet. Pearl has been a resident of Gatorland in Orlando, a theme park that rescues alligators, for seven years.
"Pearl is ten years old," a spokesman for the park told Daily Mail. "She arrived at Gatorland when she was three years old. Pearl is an albino alligator, due to the complete absence of pigmentation, which gives her white skin and pink eyes. Visitors to the park like to come and see a rare albino alligator like Pearl."
National Geographic explains the eyes appear pink due to its highly visible blood vessels. Gatorland is a 110-acre theme park and wildlife preserve. They have been operating for 60 years and have been saving alligators that might be slaughtered for fashion purposes. Gatorland is the only place worldwide where alligators have been successfully artificially inseminated.
Gatorland keeps a total of four leucistic alligators. Leucistic animals have rare genetic condition that reduces the color pigmentation in their skin.
"They are just like alligators and they eat the same food," explains Mark McHugh, President & CEO of Gatorland to Telegraph.
They are very sensitive to direct sunlight, so they have a separate cage which only has a bit of sunlight. Gatorland feeds them with chicken, fish, red meat as source of Vitamin D. Their survival rate in the wild is not high because they are obvious targets for predators. As such, most of them do not even reach the adulthood phase.
"The biggest concern is that they never would have survived in the wild. They are like little beacons out shining "come eat me.," said McHugh. "They are each ten to eleven plus feet in length and vulnerable to many predators because their lack of skin pigmentation deprives them of natural camouflage."