Cute But Challenged: The Difficult Life Of An Albino Animal

Albino animals look cute, but the lack of melanin in their bodies causes a fair amount of hardship for these pigment-challenged creatures. The complex polymer determines skin and hair color, and can impact vision and its development. This means that in addition to being far easier to spot by potential predators and prey, albino animals struggle with basic survival skills. Here are some of the common plights of albino animals, and other facts about their unique lives:

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Albino Animals Reindeer

About 1 in 10,000 animals are born with albinism. - Imgur

Albino Animals Peacock

The term derives from the Latin word Albus, meaning “white”. - Flickr/Brian Burger

Albino Animals Donkey

To have albinism, an organism must inherit one or more defective genes that makes it impossible to produce normal amounts of melanin, a pigment that colors skin and hair. - Flickr/Roberto Cossu

Albino Animals Porcupine

Animals lacking this pigment can either be pure or partial albinos, depending on how defective their inherited genes are. - Wikimedia Commons

Albino Animals Snake

In snakes, partial albinism is more common than full albinism. - Pixabay

Albino Animals Turtle

Albino turtles tend to have yellowish shells and pink eyes. - Wikimedia Commons

Albino Animals Ferret

In addition to the aesthetic effects albinism has on animals, it also affects their physical development. - Wikimedia Commons

Albino Animals Kitten

The absence of melanin in the eyes results in abnormal development, which often means that those wth albinism struggle with depth perception. - Pixabay

Albino Animals Squirrel

Some animals aren't as negatively physically impacted by albinism, like the squirrel. Its retina differs from all other mammals, so albinism affects their eyesight less than normal. - Flickr/Peter Trimming

Albino Animals Catfish

Fish, like this catfish, aren't as affected, either. They don’t have melanin in their inner ear, meaning that their hearing is less likely to be affected by albinism than in mammals. - Wikipedia

Albino Animals Alligator

Many albinos classified as predators die from starvation because they lack their natural color camouflage. Would-be prey can easily see them coming, and therefore have time to plot an escape. - Wikipedia

Albino Animals Deer

Likewise, animals that are more likely to be prey lack the natural coloring that helps them hide from predators, so they are more apt to be seen and killed. - Flickr/Paolo Brandao

Albino Animals Rat

The condition also has social effects, which is problematic when it comes time to mate. Many albino animals are outcast by their peers. - Pixabay

albino animals gorilla

As such, numerous albino animals live in captivity. Snowflake, featured above, is the only documented gorilla with albinism. He was born in the wild, but captured and kept at the Barcelona Zoo. - Wikimedia Commons

Albino Animals Wallaby

This is Betty, the resident albino wallaby at the Columbus Zoo, in Powell, Ohio. - Wikimedia Commons

Albino Animals Penguin

The only known albino penguin, Snowdrop, was born in 2002 at England’s Bristol Zoo. - Wikimedia Commons

Albino Animals Koala

There is only one documented albino koala, and his name is Onya-Birri. - Wikimedia Commons

Albino Animals Water Buffalo

Some cultures worship albino animals, and believe that they are good luck charms. - Wikimedia Commons\

Albino Animals Kangaroo

Native American tribes harbored significant reverence for albino animals, for instance. Whiteness was not seen as a symbol of "purity" as in Western cultures, but wisdom. - Wikimedia Commons

Albino Animals Mice

Despite differences, many of these tribes abided by one common principle: the albino animal is not to be killed. - Wikipedia

Albino Animals Cow

If the albino animal were killed, its killer would be cursed. The underlying thinking was that, as its coloring makes it an easier mark, it is unfair game for the hunter. - Pixabay

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Enjoyed these? Check out the animal kingdom’s most fascinatingly bizarre color mutations, or witness 27 astounding pictures of animal camouflage in action.

27 Astounding Pictures Of Animal Camouflage In Action

Over the course of millions of years of evolution, the inhabitants of Earth have devised some incredible abilities to ensure their survival. Case in point: The amazing camouflage that animals employ to surprise their prey or evade their predators. Below, we look at 27 incredible examples of animal camouflage in action:

Viewing note: After each picture, the animal will be revealed in the following slide.

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Leaf Tailed Gecko Circled

A Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko is not only an expert at mimicking leaves and branches, it can also shed its tail to evade predators.

Giraffe Circled

A giraffe melts into the vegetation in Transvaal, South Africa.

American Pika Circled

The American Pika -- a rodent native to the mountainous Western regions of Canada and the United States -- blends in against a rocky surface.

Baron Caterpillar Circled

Native to southeast Asia, the Baron Caterpillar's disguise allows it to feed on mango and cashew nut trees undetected by its predators.

Animal Camouflage Great Gray Owl Circled

A Great Gray Owl -- the world's largest owl by length -- blends into a tree in Oregon.

Asian Vine Snake Circled

An Asian Vine Snake uses surrounding foliage adjacent to water to catch its primary prey, fish.

Leopard Circled

A leopard sits in the underbrush in South Africa's Kruger National Park.

Blue Crowned Parrot Circled

A Blue-crowned parrot disappears in the verdant rain forest of Belize.

Wolf Circled

A wolf peeks behind a tree during fall in Montana.

Brimstone Butterfly Circled

The color and shape of the wings of the Brimstone Butterfly allow it to blend in perfectly with green vegetation while resting.

Buff Tip Moth Circled

The Buff-Tip Moth has developed an astounding camouflage that helps it to hide in plain sight among trees and branches.

Common Snipe Circled

A Common Snipe hides among riparian vegetation in Minnesota.

Great Horned Owl Circled

A Great Horned Owl hides among autumn foliage in Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Oregon.

Wolf Spider Circled

Found on every continent on the planet, Wolf Spiders are opportunistic predators that will use their surroundings to ambush their prey.

Great Potoo Circled

A nocturnal creature, the Great Potoo hides during the day by perching itself on trees.

Horned Adders Circled

A Horned Adder matches the sand of the Namib Desert, where they disappear completely by burying themselves.

Japanese Macaques Circled

A family of Japanese Macaques hide in plain sight amidst their rocky habitat on Honshu Island, Japan.

Klipspringers Circled

Two Klipspringers camouflage themselves among rocky cliffs in Botswana.

Willow Ptarmigan Circled

A Willow Ptarmigan blends into the snow while foraging in Churchill, Manitoba, Canada.

Lichen Spider Circled

A Lichen Spider perfectly blends into a tree trunk at the Erawan National Park in Thailand.

Male Spotted Deer Circled

A Spotted Deer, also known as a Chital, disappears in a forest in India.

Nighthawk Circled

A Nighthawk conceals itself among rocks in eastern Washington.

Pygmy Seahorse Camouflage

The Pygmy Seahorse is an expert at camouflaging itself in sea corals to evade detection by potential predators.

Snow Leopard Circled

A Snow Leopard peers over the edge of a rock in the Himalayas.

Stone Flounder Circled

A Righteye Flounder is perfectly adapted to going undetected on the ocean floor.

Uroplatus Geckos Circled

Uroplatus geckos, a species of noctural lizards endemic to Madagascar, use cryptic coloration to hide in tree bark during the daytime.

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Thanks to imgur, Daily Mail, and Rant Lifestyle for some of the images above. We also recommend you check out this fascinating video by the BBC on the camouflage abilities of the cuttlefish:

Fascinated by animal camouflage? Check out our other posts on macro photography and the most astounding nature photography of 2014!

What We Loved This Week, Dec. 6-12

TIME reveals what Donald Trump supporters actually look like, a secret train takes VIPs to one of New York’s most famous hotels, a Japanese artist sends trees into the ocean and outer space, wild animals take over the Vatican, a few foreign countries teach the U.S. how to do prostitution right.

Vatican Art Projection

Image Source: National Geographic

Endangered Animals Take Over The Vatican

Vatican Art Projection 2

Image Source: National Geographic

Last Tuesday, leopards, pandas, and many other endangered species took over the Vatican. With climate talks underway in Paris, the projections of animal images on St. Peter’s Basilica drew in thousands of spectators in order to highlight the plight of endangered animals. Several photographers—including Joel Sartore’s Photo Ark project—showcased their stunning work. View more images from the Vatican at National Geographic.

Vatican Art Projection 3

Image Source: National Geographic

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Why We Kiss And Hug: The Answers Are Way More Complex–And Gross–Than You Think

The reasons why we kiss and hug might seem simple and self-evident, but 64% of the world’s cultures don’t even kiss at all. And those that do don’t even really know why they do it. Time to find out…

Kiss And Hug Why We Kiss

Image Source: Blogspot

Far more about our lives than we realize is understood through touch. Humans (not to mention animals) can communicate an immense amount of information, from aggression to benevolence, with just a handshake or a tap on the shoulder. As social beings, this desire to connect through human contact is ingrained in us to the point where we do it every day without giving it much thought at all.

Likewise, the intimate forms of touch, like hugging and kissing, feel equally natural and just plain good. But why is this and why do we do these things?

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