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22 stunningly rare albino animals

By: Angela Nelson on July 12, 2016, 3:52 p.m.
Albino gopher snake

Photo: fivespots/Shutterstock

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Colorless creatures

In the animal world, color is key. Sometimes color may reveal a gender, as with the bird kingdom, where male birds tend to be more colorful than females. Sometimes color can be a warning sign to stay away, such as with poison dart frogs or venomous coral snakes. And of course, many animals use their colors for protection — to camouflage themselves while hunting or to avoid being eaten.

So what happens when an animal is born as an albino and lacks the ability to produce melanin, which is what makes those defining colors in an animal's skin, eyes or fur? What does it mean when an albino turtle can't blend into a bed of seaweed or an albino alligator can't hide within the murky depths of a swamp? Unfortunately, it often means these animals don't survive long in the wild, as they can more easily be seen by both predators and prey. And the lack of pigment can also cause albinos to have poor eyesight, making it difficult to spot a hunter or their next meal.

Here are 22 photos of rare albino animals — many of them in captivity for their protection — to show just how gorgeous a lack of pigment can be.