Albino animals are amazing. These beautiful white animals stand out against their environment, making them easy to spot by both man and predator.
What is albinism? For one thing, albinism is a recessive trait. That means both parents have to carry a certain gene. Do you know what a gene is? A gene is what makes you tall or short or gives you brown eyes or blue. If both of your parents are tall, they probably have genes to make them tall, and possibly passed that gene down to you. Well, back to recessive traits. A recessive trait is like a gene that doesn’t show up very often. So, since albinism is a recessive trait, that means albinos are rare. And even if both parents carry the right gene(s), not all their offspring will be albino, only one in a few. That is another reason why albinos are so rare.
Do you know what pigment is? Pigment is what is in the skin, hair, and eyes to make them show color. Brown eyes in a non-albino animal have brown pigment, so their eyes reflect the color brown. When animals have no pigment in the eyes, you can see the blood vessels, making the eyes appear red or pink. When you see a white rabbit, you can tell if its an albino or not by looking at the eyes. If it has red or pink eyes, you can almost always be sure it is an albino.
Some animals depend on their colors to camouflage them. A grasshopper is green so it can blend in with the green grass, whereas a ladybug has bright colors to warn birds that it tastes bad. When albinos are born, they lack their bright or dull colors that protect them. In other words, they stand out to their natural enemies. For that reason, you may never see an albino insect. When a bird sees an albino ladybug, it may fly down and eat it, because the ladybug dies not have its bright colors to warn the bird that it tastes bad.