Real or Fake? Meet the Rare Magical White Owl With Red Eyes [Video]
An insanely adorable owl that looks like it came straight out of a fairytale has been making waves. The said bird, which has snow-white feathers and cherry red eyes, has piqued the interest of many, some even guessing if it's a snow owl. However, the peculiar yet magical appearance of this said owl is due to a rare condition.
According to Earthables, different from what people think that it's a snow owl, this particular animal is in fact a screech owl -- albino version. Screech owls are usually gray or rusty brown, but because of albinism, this particular bird lacks melanin to produce color. As a result, the albino screech owl sports a white coat.
Its glowing red eyes, which is normally yellow among screech owls, came from blood vessels. Because of the lack of melanin even in the eyes, the owl's iris is colorless, reflecting the pink to red skin around its eyes.
According to the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus (AAPOS), one in 17,000 people has albinism and can affect different races, or in the case of animals, different breeds. Albinism is present among mammals at birth and is characterized by the lack of pigment that's responsible in giving color to the skin, hair, eyes, etc.
Apart from the albino screech owl, there are also some unique animals with rare conditions that make them look too magical to be real. Here are some examples below:
Tourists in Antartica has spotted a rare white penguin that has an almost-washed, dilluted coat. Experts say that the animal has a condition called Isabellinism, which dillutes the pigment in the penguin's feathers, as per the National Geographic. It should be noted, however, that Isabellinism is different from Albinism as the former deals with a mutation that prevents melanin production while the latter occurs due to lack of melanin since birth.
Named as Blondie, this rare albino porcupine has softer hair and sharper spines for defense. Blondie is a mainstay at the London Zoo, per Unbelievable Facts.
What could be more mystical than seeing a white deer in a snow-filled landscape? Just like the white screech owl, the albino deer has pink to red eye color because of the blood vessels seen behind its translucent iris. However, because of their color, it's hard for them to camouflage and avoid predator attacks.