20 Animals That Lost and Won the Genetic Lottery at the Same Time
White turtles, black zebras, golden tigers, pink katydids — they often don’t survive for long in the wild without the benefits of their natural coloring. However, such animals never fail to capture people's hearts.
Bright Side created a wonderful selection of photographs that show how nature can be generous and selective at the same time. Buckle up for an enormous amount of beauty!
1. Blue-white peacock
As birds with a most impressive plumage, male peacocks need bright feathers to attract a mate. A sense of aesthetic beauty has greatly evolved among these birds. According to a legend, when peacocks were created they were given a horrible voice and mesmerizing beauty. The peacock in the photo above is an extremely rare combination of an albino and a regular coloring of fabulous feathers. We can't take our eyes off it!
2. Golden tiger
This gorgeous coloration is the result of captive breeding and might not even appear in the wild. Scientists still don't have a name for this color variation, which is caused by a recessive gene. Some call it a strawberry tiger or a golden tabby tiger.
3. Pink katydids
Recent research has shown that pink may soon become a dominant color among North American katydids due to the recess of a green pigment. Pink katydids were discovered in 1874 and called genetic mutants for their bright coloring. Fancy insects, we say.
4. Albino turtle
It's a very rare and unique occasion to see an albino turtle heading to the ocean. Experts say that one out of 1,000 turtles usually survive to maturity in the ocean, and an albino's chances are even lower. We believe that this little guy surfs around the Great Barrier Reef.
5. Albino snake
Albino snakes are among the rarest albino animals in the world. It's interesting to know that albino snakes are not born completely white: their skin coloring gets lighter with every month of their life due to a lack of dark pigments.
6. Antarctic fur seal
Found in chilly northern waters, these are not ordinary seals: their skin is covered with fur. In fact, fur seals evolved from the same ancestors as dogs and bears. About one in 1,000 Antarctic fur seals is a pale "blonde" variant, which is extremely rare.
7. Young nutria and its albino mother
Found most commonly in freshwater marshes, nutrias love water like no other animal. However, some people consider their behavior to be too invasive and destructive, especially during feeding.
8. Half-red half-blue lobster
You're one in a million... He, in fact, is one in 50 million! A bi-colored blue and red lobster. However, the rarest lobster is a white lobster. The chance of seeing a white lobster is only one in 100 million. These 2-color lobsters are hermaphrodites, containing a male sex organ on one side of the body and a female sex organ on the other side.
9. Snow-white kangaroo
The coat of this baby kangaroo looks amazingly white compared to its gray companion. The gray coloring helps them to blend in with the background and avoid predators. Albino kangaroos are very vulnerable to sunburn because of their skin. One of the first white kangaroos was spotted more than 5 years ago at the Namadgi National Park, Australia.
10. Seneca white deer
A very rare herd of white deer lives in Seneca County, New York. They are not albino, but they carry a set of recessive genes for all-white coats. It's the largest herd in the world and the most protected one as the white coats make deer easy prey for hunters and coyotes.
11. Melanistic and albino zebras
Unlike albinism, melanism is the over-production of melanin, the pigment that colors skin. Some animals, like zebras, don't lose their pigment completely. A melanistic zebra isn’t fully black – it has stripes of different shapes, and the dark markings become thicker and more prominent.
12. Black toad
Even if a prince kisses this toad it won't turn into a beautiful lady. It won't even turn pink. That's how strong its skin pigmentation is. Black toads are out of the ordinary, as are black frogs. The contrast of their skin color is not a benefit since predators can easily spot them in their surroundings. Don't you think that black toads look more stylish?
13. White horse
Noble white stallions are born white and stay white throughout their lives. They carry the dominant "white" genes, which are very rare. They are often referred to as gray horses, but, in fact, they are completely white and should not be confused with albino horses. The dominant white gene is rare but has occurred in many breeds.
14. Spirit bear
Also known as a kermode bear, it inhabits the Central and North Coast regions of British Columbia, Canada. They are not albinos either, and at least 200 individuals of their breed are creamy white. The indigenous people consider white bears sacred, and it is prohibited to hunt them.
15. Silver fox
A melanistic form of a red fox is a silver fox. When the red fox was domesticated, a new breed – the silver fox – appeared. Historically, it was very noble to wear clothes embroidered with its fur, especially in Russia, China, and Western Europe. The coloring may differ from silver-gray to dark black.
16. Melanistic gray seal
Observations of gray seals in the North Sea have shown that black-and-white seals are not common. One in 300 seals is estimated to have the color genes deviations. Researchers pointed out that young black pups behave naturally with the rest of the group and didn't feel like outsiders. Who wouldn't love those eyes?
17. Albino snail
They planned to blend in with their surroundings, but nature decided otherwise. One of the first albino snails was found several years ago in New Zealand by a group of hikers. Any attempt to camouflage will fail, which makes these snails an exposed prey to their enemies.
18. Pink hippo
2 years ago, a rare pink hippo was spotted in Kenya. The rosy-hued hippopotamus has a condition called leucism, which occurs when the skin produces less pigment than usual. He is definitely not an albino though. Nature can unexpectedly show us so much beauty in every animal.
19. Odd-eyed cat
Well, a cat is the most familiar animal on this list. The beauty of a cat's odd eyes is determined, again, by a gene mix-up at the development stage: the white spotting gene prevents the pigment from reaching one eye during development. In the majority of cases, cats have one blue eye and one eye that is green or brown.
20. Black sheep
This photo speaks louder than any words.
Nature is the most skillful artist. Which animal do you think changed in the most beautiful manner? Have you seen any of them in real life? Do you have a cat with multicolored eyes? Share your wonderful photos in the comments.