Orlando, Florida’s, Gatorland has made history with the birth of an extremely rare white leucistic alligator – one of just eight in the entire world.
The alligator-themed park announced the “extraordinary” birth Thursday, which made the baby gator the first-ever of its kind to be born in captivity, according to Fox 35 Orlando.
“Oh boy, we have some exciting news here at Gatorland,” said Mark McHugh, President and CEO of Gatorland, on Instagram. “For the first time since a nest of leucistic alligators was discovered in the swamps of Louisiana 36 years ago, we have the first birth of a solid white alligator ever recorded from those original alligators. This is beyond ‘rare,’ it is absolutely extraordinary!”
The new white gator, a female, along with her typically-colored brother, were born to reptilian parents Jeyan and Ashley, Gatorland announced.
Leucistic gators are “the rarest genetic variation in the American alligator,” McHugh said.
The siblings weigh 96 grams and are just under 100 cm long, the park’s statement read.
The Gatorland vet gave them both an “A+” at their recent health check-up, as they continue to eat bite-sized pieces of raw chicken and other nutritional supplements.
While leucistic alligators are white, they are not to be confused with albino alligators, which have a complete loss of pigment indicated by their pale pink eyes. The new leucistic gator, whose name has yet to be chosen, has blue eyes.
“Leucism in alligators causes white coloration, but they often have patches or splotches of normal coloration on their skin,” according to Gatorland. “Without the darker skin pigmentation, they can’t have direct sunlight for long periods of time because they sunburn easily.”
Leucism is already rare, but the new baby is even rarer due to her completely white coloring.
Gatorland plans to display the baby gator siblings in early 2024 for guests to see.
They’ll be closely monitored under vet care for now, McHugh added, noting that the park is “being very careful with their safety and security.”
The park also announced in their Instagram post that they need help selecting names for the new pair of babies, asking the public to submit their best suggestions.