ATLANTA – A pair of rare albino American alligators have joined the Georgia Aquarium’s Southern Company River Scout gallery.
There are less than 50 albino American alligators living in the United States, according to aquarium officials, and they typically only survive only 24 hours in the wild. The aquarium’s two alligators – one male and one female – are four and six feet long.
“By continuing to exhibit American alligators, the Aquarium has the opportunity to educate guests about conservation and this once endangered species,” Tim Mullican, vice president of zoological operations for the Georgia Aquarium, said in a news release.
“While American alligators are found throughout the Southeast, adult albino alligators can only been seen in zoos and aquariums,” Mullican added. “This allows us the opportunity to educate the millions of guests that visit the Georgia Aquarium each year about an animal they would probably never get to see.”
According to the aquarium, a rare genetic mutation affecting the production of melanin causes the alligators’ white skin color. In addition, their eyes appear to be pink or red as underlying blood vessels in the eye’s iris can be seen due to the lack of pigment.
At the aquarium, the two alligators will be kept out of the sun, and officials will add vitamin D3 to their diets to supplement their lack of ultraviolet radiation.
IF YOU GO: The Georgia Aquarium is located in downtown Atlanta near Centennial Olympic Park and CNN Center.