On Thursday, the world learned about the birth of an extremely rare white gator–one of only eight in the world–near the Walt Disney World Resort in Central Florida.
An Extremely Rare Species
In a news release on Thursday, officials at Gatorland Orlando, a 110-acre theme park and wildlife preserve located approximately 10 miles from the Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, announced the birth of an extremely rare leucistic white alligator, which represents the rarest genetic variation of the species.
The solid white baby gator, a female who weighs 96 grams and is 49 centimeters long, is one of only eight leucistic white alligators on earth. The white gator species is different from an albino gator, according to the Gatorland website. The new baby gator was born to parents named Jeyan and Ashley.
Leucistic Gators vs. Albino Gators
In addition to the leucistic baby gator that was just born, Gatorland Orlando is also home to two other extremely rare white alligators who are now giants. Gatorland calls the two brothers Feros Zonbi and Trezo Je at Gatorland’s White Gator Swamp. The animal-inspired theme park is also home to albino alligators but points out an important difference between the albino and the leucistic gators:
Albinism is a condition in which there is an absence of melanin, creating white skin and red eyes. Leucism, on the other hand, is a partial loss of pigmentation, which can make the animal have white or patchily-colored skin, but the pigment cells in the eyes are not affected by the condition.
“Leucism in alligators causes white coloration, but they often have patches or splotches of normal coloration on their skin,” Gatorland said in its news release. “Leucistic alligators also have brilliant blue eyes compared to the pink eyes of an albino alligator.”
Officials also said that Leucistic alligators are the rarest variation of the American alligator.
The new white baby gator is reportedly already eating raw chicken and tiny “Croc Chow” pellets, which are bite size pieces of alligator food.
Help Name the Baby Gator
The baby gator is missing one thing, though–a name.
To solve that dilemma, Gatorland is inviting the public to help name her, as well as her brother, who was also just born but with normal coloring. To take part in deciding a name for both baby gators, anyone interested can visit Gatorland’s Facebook page. They can also visit Gatorland’s Instagram and make suggestions for the babies’ names.
You can watch the extremely rare leucistic alligator baby getting used to her new home by clicking here.